HomeTennisFormer world No 2 makes 'changing the king' statement about Rafael Nadal...

Former world No 2 makes ‘changing the king’ statement about Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz


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Former world No 2 Alex Corretja has proclaimed that the transition from Rafael Nadal to Carlos Alcaraz in Spanish tennis is “like we are changing the king.”

The two-time Roland Garros finalist believes comparisons between Alcaraz and Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are “understandable” because “he’s been winning matches like all the legends.”

Alcaraz is currently in action at the 2024 Australian Open, where he is the second seed and one of the favourites to win the title. The world No 2 will face 18-year-old Chinese player Juncheng Shang in the third round in Melbourne on Saturday.

The 20-year-old Spaniard has already achieved huge success in his career to date, claiming two Grand Slam titles, four Masters 1000 titles and becoming the youngest ATP world No 1.

Nadal withdrew from the Australian Open due to a hip injury he suffered in his three-set quarter-final defeat to Jordan Thompson in Brisbane earlier this month.

Prior to Brisbane, Nadal had not played a competitive singles match since losing to Mackenzie McDonald in the second round of last year’s Australian Open due to a hip injury. The 22-time major champion underwent arthroscopic surgery to treat the psoas muscle in his hip in June 2023.

READ MORE: Carlos Alcaraz makes ‘nervous’ confession about his ‘idol and role model’ Rafael Nadal

Speaking to Eurosport, Corretja discussed the passing of the baton from Spain’s greatest ever tennis player Nadal to their brightest young star Alcaraz.

“If you see the results, he’s been winning matches like all the legends do, [Novak] Djokovic, Nadal, [Roger] Federer,” the Spaniard said.

“So, the comparisons are understandable. Here in Spain, we had Rafa, so expectations were very high and now we have ‘Carlitos’, so it is like we are changing the king.

“Yes, we still have Rafa to come back, but we are so blessed to have Carlitos as he brings always so much emotion into the game, he always smiles.

“And he’s more like a new generation, new generation because they want everything for now, everything has to be faster and that’s the way Carlitos plays, so I would say it is all adjusted to the modern era.

“In my era when you play [Pete] Sampras or [Boris] Becker or [Andre] Agassi, it felt a little bit like a curse, you had so much respect, you had been watching them on TV.

“[With Alcaraz] it feels more like a friend, more like a practice match and you think ‘okay, let’s play’, you don’t have the fear. But at the same time he is showing he doesn’t care about the same issues we used to care [about], he is more chilled in a way and it is nice to see that they are having fun.

“I don’t know how they do it as we more suffered than having fun, they are just playing tennis, they don’t care about results or history or the things the older guys used to worry [about]. So I think it is quite nice to see that; you don’t want to see the guys struggling on the court or seeming anxious.”

The former ATP Finals champion also assessed Alcaraz’s form in his victories over Richard Gasquet and Lorenzo Sonego in his first two matches at the Australian Open.

“He needed to play the tough first set against Gasquet, I don’t think he was flat, I think he was uncomfortable on court against Sonego,” Corretja added.

“He needed to play rallies, needed to lose a set, maybe drop a break and then you feel much better. Then you will crescendo, you will go up and Carlitos, that’s what he needed. He didn’t play any tournaments before the Australian Open.”

READ MORE: Carlos Alcaraz reveals he is targeting big record as a staggering statistic emerges

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