Newly crowned US Open winner Carlos Alcaraz has spoken about how he would like Rafael Nadal to extend his lead at the top of the all-time Grand Slams rankings, drawing clear of Novak Djokovic. The teen revealed that he cheers on his fellow Spaniard If he is knocked out of competitions.
Alcaraz took the world No 1 spot in emphatic fashion earlier this year, becoming the youngest player to claim the top spot in ATP history. The 19-year-old enjoyed has a terrific breakout campaign, and to win his first Grand Slam – becoming the first teen to do so since Nadal in 2005 – was a fitting conclusion to the season.
Despite all of the plaudits, Alcaraz has remained level-headed since his victory in Flushing Meadows, openly backing Nadal for future success. Asked by AS whether he would like him to remain at 22 wins, so he is slightly within reach in the future, he replied: “No, no, what’s up, not at all, not at all.
“I will always be proud that Rafa wins Grand Slams. And obviously, if I lose in one, if unfortunately, I lose, I will be cheering him on to win, always together with a Spaniard.
“And honestly, with a title, I don’t feel any closer now (laughs). For now, I’m going to think about the second and try to achieve it, which very few people have been able to. So for now, that’s my goal.”
Alcaraz then revealed that, aside from lifting more Grand Slams, his next target is to beat one of the ‘big three’. He continued: “To play against (Roger) Federer, although right now I have few chances, I think, but it would be something that I would like.
“And beat one of the three in a Grand Slam. I have always said that to be the best you have to beat the best.” Alcarez has been compared to both Federer on numerous occasions throughout his career, though many have been quick to indicate that his playstyle is more similar to Nadal’s – and Toni Nadal believes that the youngster should follow in his nephew’s footsteps.
He told El Pais: “Despite having openly declared that he is an admirer of Roger Federer, he has been able to see that his line of play should follow the same paths that continue to guide my nephew.
“Our young tennis player has been demonstrating that same desire for victory, that ability not to give up and to fight until the last ball, that same intensity that has given Rafael so many victories and of which Carlos has taken good note, as he has gone growing up as a tennis player.”