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Carlos Alcaraz ignores the comparisons with Nadal after finishing the year as number 1

Carlos Alcaraz insists that the inevitable comparisons with Rafael Nadal are “nonsense” after the Spaniard finished the season as world number one. Alcaraz last week became the youngest year-end No. 1 in men’s tennis history, despite failing to play at the ATP Finals in Turin.

Alcaraz, 19, won the US Open this year and his remarkable rise has drawn similarities with his legendary Spanish compatriot. Nadal won his first Grand Slam at the French Open in 2005, the first time he competed at Roland Garros, at the same age Alcaraz celebrated glory at Flushing Meadows this August.

The teenager is seen as the future of men’s tennis after an amazing season that also saw him win two Masters titles. And even he reached the top of the ranking three years before Nadal rose to the top of the sport.

But while Alcaraz is delighted to end the year with the status of the world’s greatest tennis player, he is convinced that the storied career of Nadal, winner of 22 Grand Slams, makes premature comparisons pointless.

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“It doesn’t make sense to compare,” Alcaraz said when asked about Nadal. It doesn’t matter that he is now number 1 in the world, Rafa’s entire career counts for a lot”.

Instead, Alcaraz is focusing on recovering from an abdominal injury that ruled him out of the season-closing ATP finals, as he looks to claim more major titles in 2023. But while he has stymied comparisons with Nadal, Alcaraz admits he now has to face a new pressure to be number 1 in the world.

“The season is going to be difficult because I am going to start as the favorite and there is going to be a lot of pressure on me,” he added. “But I try to keep the good part and see that all this does not go to my head. In the end, beating your idols is an incredible achievement. I try to take it as normal and never forget that whatever happens in the future, I have to enjoy tennis and play at my level”.

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While Alcaraz finished the year as the world number 1, few would argue that Novak Djokovic is the man to beat after he won a record-equalling sixth ATP final trophy. Djokovic finished the campaign as world number 5 in a year in which he was unable to compete for ranking points at the US Open and Australian Open due to his vaccination status, and there were also no points at stake. when he won Wimbledon.

Djokovic was given the green light to play in January’s Australian Open after his ban from the country was overturned, and the Serb has big ambitions as he looks to usurp Alcaraz to the top of the rankings next year.

“In general, the rankings show who had the best year, and Alcaraz is number 1 in the world,” Djokovic said. “Not much to say about it. But in my mind I always see myself as the best player in the world, of course. I have that kind of mentality and that kind of approach.”



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