Spanish legend makes his pick between Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz

Kevin Palmer
Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal at the net
Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal in Indian Wells

Carlos Alcaraz appears to be Rafael Nadal’s heir apparent in Spanish tennis, yet he has a long way to go to prove he will be a match for one of the game’s all-time greats.

Alcaraz has already won two Grand Slam titles by the age of 20, with his win at last year’s US Open backed up by a stunning victory against Novak Djokovic in this year’s Wimbledon final.

Yet these are still the formative days of Alcaraz’s career and four-time Spanish Davis Cup winner Feliciano Lopez believes the rising star of the game has much more to achieve before he can be compared to the great Nadal.

Nadal’s Davis Cup record is hugely impressive, with 29 wins from his 30 singles matches and 37 wins overall when his doubles appearances are included.

He has won the Davis Cup five times and on many of those occasions, he was Spain’s star man as they found a way to get over the winning line.

When asked by Punto de Break who he would pick to play for Spain in his dream Davis Cup team, Lopez didn’t even include Alcaraz in his dream doubles team as he picked Nadal and veteran Davis Cup hero David Ferrer.

“I imagine that Alcaraz is going to win many games in this competition (Davis Cup), but so far I have only seen one of him,” said Lopez.

“From what I have experienced, I would put Nadal and Ferrer in the individual (matches), that is clear to me.

“In the doubles, there would be more options, because I played well with Fernando (Verdasco) for a time, I could also play with Marc (López). Marc and Rafa would also be a brutal couple.”

Tennis365 spoke to Alex Corretja about Alcaraz ahead of his Wimbledon triumph and he echoed Lopez’s sentiment that the youngster needed time to cement his status as a great of the game, but he is convinced that coronation will come.

“Carlos is special. He is not good, he is special,” he said at an ASICS event.

“When you are special, you are capable of doing things the others can’t. The way he moves is unbelievable.

“The way he hits the ball is unbelievable. His forehand is just huge, it’s out of this world and the happiness he brings to the game is unique and difficult for the opponent.

“When you play, sometimes conditions are a little bit chilly, or it is too hot or too windy, but it seems with him, he accepts the situation.

“You need to accept what you have, what you get and what you feel. As soon as you accept that… I’m not sure if life is easier but more acceptable.

“Novak has said this about accepting disappointment. That is what you have to do on the court. Not everything will go for you in a match and you know that. You accept it and make the best of what you have on the day.”

READ MORE: Novak Djokovic leaps to Carlos Alcaraz’s defence after controversial decision

Lopez also suggested team competitions should not offer rankings points, with the United Cup event staged in Australia in January among the events that now offer ATP and WTA ranking points.

“I don’t think team competitions should offer points, I have always been against this idea. Neither the Davis Cup nor any other competition,” added the Spaniard.

“For example, I don’t think the United Cup should give points or the old ATP Cup.

“It is unfair treatment compared to the other tournaments that are played that week, where you can never earn the same points as playing a team competition, where you can face a player who is #500 and win more points than another who wins that week against a top50 and gets 20 points. I am not in favour of points in team competitions.”

“You cannot give the Davis Cup the points that you give in a Masters 1000 or a tournament of that level, it is not comparable, it does not make sense.”