ATP

Krajicek hopes Alcaraz does not simply try to emulate Nadal

By Sports Desk February 22, 2024

Richard Krajicek believes it will hurt Carlos Alcaraz's career if he compares himself too much to Rafael Nadal.

Alcaraz is being hailed as Spanish tennis' next big hope with Nadal nearing the end of a hugely decorated career, one that has seen him win 22 grand slam titles, two behind Novak Djokovic at the top of the all-time list.

Alcaraz himself has claimed two grand slams at the age of 20, winning the US Open in 2022 before following it up by claiming Wimbledon glory the following year.

Despite the comparisons, Krajicek hopes Alcaraz doesn't think too much about comparing himself with his countryman Nadal.

"If he starts to think about it or live up to it or try to beat it, then it will hinder his career, I think, a little bit," said Krajicek, speaking to Stats Perform at the Rotterdam Open. "But no, his name is Carlos Alcaraz. He said it himself. And he's not a new Nadal.

"Nadal is a legend. And he's going to do what he has to do. And I think by winning two grand slams, being number one, I don't think he [Alcaraz] feels any pressure or like, I have to do this or this.

"He's proved so much already. I don't think he has too much to prove. And he's just playing for the love of the game. He's going to win many more grand slams and be number one for many weeks also."

Krajicek thinks Alcaraz's all-round game has the potential to take him to the top, if he hasn't reached it already.

"I like everything about his game," Krajicek added. "I mean he's physically good, he's fast, I love his mentality on the court."

"Also like Rafa, [he is] a very humble person and he can do it all. He can play serve and volley, he plays from the base, he's got a big forehand, he's got a very good touch on the drop shot, he can volley."

Krajicek pointed to Alcaraz's affection for the sport of tennis as a particularly infectious part of his game.

"He really loves the game," Krajicek continued. 

"I think when he played the US Open, there was a huge point in the final and it was a really important point. And they were playing for number one in the world.

"It was one set all, and Alcaraz loses the point, but the point was unbelievable. And Alcaraz smiles to his box like, 'Wow, I just played a great point, and I love this game'.

"So for me, then I became a fan. I'm like, 'Wow, you really love this game'. That's so great to see."

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