Rafael Nadal ‘super happy’ with Carlos Alcaraz’s rise, but pleads ‘stop comparing him to me’

Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal shake hands

Rafael Nadal is delighted with the emergence of Carlos Alcaraz and admits it would be “amazing” if the rising star goes on to win multiple Grand Slams, but also warned not to “put extra pressure” on the teenager.

Alcaraz is the talk of the tennis world after following up his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title, the Miami Open, in March with a second one at the Madrid Open the past weekend, beating Nadal and world No 1 Novak Djokovic en route to lifting the trophy. He also won the Barcelona Open a fortnight ago and the Rio Open in February.

The 19-year-old has risen to a career-high of No 6 in the ATP Rankings and Djokovic and Alexander Zverev, the man he beat in Sunday’s final in Madrid, declared him the “best player in the world”.

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Alcaraz, who himself his played down suggestions that he is the best, has often been compared with his fellow Spaniard Nadal, but the 21-time Grand Slam winner is pleading for patience with the youngster.

“The only thing that we can do is enjoy the career of an amazing player like Carlos. Will be better, even if it’s interesting, if you stop comparing him to me,” Nadal said.

“If he’s able to win 25 Grand Slams, it’s going to be amazing for him and for our country, and I will be happy for him. But let him enjoy his personal career.

“Don’t put pressure, extra pressure, on him. Don’t ask me every time… I am super happy to have an amazing player like him in our country.”

Nadal will go down as one of the all-time greats of tennis, having won a record 21 majors, including 13 French Open titles, while he also spent 209 weeks as world No 1. He currently sits fourth on the all-time list for most singles titles with 91.

The 35-year-old continued: “I enjoyed my personal career. I think I am super happy the way that I was able to manage my tennis career. It is his moment now to manage his personal career the way that he wants it.

“We cannot be, all the time, thinking about how was it, how he is today. He is what he is, he’s fantastic. Probably in 2005, I will not say about myself that I was fantastic, but I think I was quite good too.

“Different moments, different careers, different way to approach things because the times are changing. But let’s enjoy him. That’s it.”