Spain’s young tennis sensation Carlos Alcaraz has said he is not planning to take over from Rafael Nadal and intends to build his “own history”.
Alcaraz capped a perfect week at the Barcelona Open on Sunday by outplaying Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4 with a high-quality championship match display at the ATP 500 and claimed his ninth tour-level crown and third of the season.
The Spaniard’s remarkable achievements at a young age have led to comparisons with Nadal, who like Alcaraz, clinched his maiden Grand Slam title at the age of 19.
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“As I’ve always said on more than one occasion, I don’t want to take over from anyone. I feel lucky to have so many people supporting me behind me, transmitting that positive energy from the first game,” Alcaraz was quoted by Eurosport.
“Speaking of this week, it’s been two years that Rafa hasn’t been there, I’ve been lucky, or let’s say I won’t win the title. But as I’ve always said, I’ve always wanted to play against the best.
“It is a pity that we have not been able to enjoy Rafa these last two years. Let’s hope he continues playing for a long time and we can enjoy his tennis, but obviously, we’re not here to take over from anyone, but to build our own history,” he added.
Bjorn Borg, Rafael Nadal, Mats Wilander, Boris Becker, and Andre Agassi are the only five players in ATP history who have won more titles as a teenager than Alcaraz.
The Spaniard will have the chance to add a 10th title to his career at the Madrid Open, where he is a defending champion and will be a strong favourite in the absence of Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
“We always go to each tournament thinking that we can win, trying to do our best. Not winning Madrid (Open) would not be a failure for me, it depends on the level I have shown and the matches. All the players are very good, they can all win the title and they can beat me. For me, failure would depend on the level I show and the way I play,” he said.
Alcaraz is the top seed in Madrid and has received a bye in the first round. He will open against either Ugo Humbert or Emil Ruusuvuori.
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