US Open: Nadal and Alcaraz, so equal, so different: “Technically, I have the feeling that he is better than Rafa at his age”

US Open: Nadal and Alcaraz, so equal, so different: “Technically, I have the feeling that he is better than Rafa at his age”


The two Spaniards at the top of tennis have similarities, but also differences. “Both were already impressive in their childhood”, recalls Juan Bautista Avendao

Nadal and Alcaraz, in the Madrid tournament.EFE

Between the two images, that of the brand new champion of the United States Open and that of the young man who won at Roland Garros in 2005, the first of his 22 Grand Slam titles, 17 years, four months and seven days elapsed. . Carlos Alcaraz reached the summit at the age of 19 years, four months and a week. Rafael Nadal, 19 years and two days. The Murcian is already number 1 in the world. The Mallorcan made his debut at the top of the table more than three years after that win on August 18, 2008.

Almost at the dawn of the millennium, the context of tennis was different. Roger Federer had established himself as the great dominator of the competition. He was already a Wimbledon, Australian Open and US Open champion. Although this is his debut in the tournament, Nadal has burst in with good prospects. Not in vain, he had just won in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome, the latter tournament after playing in an unforgettable final against Guillermo Coria. In Paris, he overthrew Federer in the semi-finals and won the final against Mariano Puerta.

I saw Nadal for the first time at Manuel Alonso, the Spanish children’s championship, in Vic, and he was already impressive with his attitude, with his desire. Let’s say I did the same thing as now but at 12 years old. The same thing happened not so long ago, when Alcaraz played the tournament in the city of rackets. He was a kid and everyone already wanted to see himJuan Bautista Avendao, member of the Davis Cup captains team in 2004, comments in this diary, when Nadal surprises with his victory in the final against the United States, against Andy Roddick.

Alcaraz is a player with extraordinary resources, to the proposal of which his rivals will have to find an answer. Unlike Nadal, who grew up to be able to face Federer and later Djokovic, the tennis player from El Palmar shows a natural exuberance. He took the lead and is already the benchmark.

technique and learning

Technically I feel he is better than Nadal at his age. The Majorcan progressed as he won, underlines Jordi Arrese, also a member of this team of Davis Cup captains with José Perlas and Avendao.

The Murcian threatens to devour the generation of men like Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev, who have already spent a few seasons on the circuit without the price of a Major. Nadal started out as a clay court specialist that he grew up on other surfaces because he knew otherwise he wouldn’t have a chance in Australia, Wimbledon and New York. He worked hard to be more aggressive and standardize his game in any scenario. Alcaraz also grew up on clay, but he already has the means to manage to function quickly, as he has shown, analyzes Avendao.

Very different in their conception of the game, they share enormous mental strength and a great commitment to tennis from a young age. Like Nadal, Alcaraz is also convinced of what he is capable of. He puts pressure on himself with his own declarations, a symptom of his powerful head. He has a lot of self-confidence and is very social, says Arrese.

There is an additional factor in the style of Murcian, whose creativity makes him one of the most attractive men in the game. We are facing a renovator, one of the few who offer different things and create trends. Never in my life have I seen so many dropshots as I did last week in a tournament at the La Alameda Tennis Club. He brought up to date a move that was not used as much anymore. And also on a hard court, where the risks are much greater than on clay, specifies Avendao, now responsible for the Madrid Tennis Federation.

Both Avendao and Arrese see an immediate future in which Nadal will still have a lot to say. Not in vain, at 36, he won the Australian Open and Roland Garros this season and reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon, which he was unable to play due to injury. Without much less detracting from the incredible tournament he made Alcaraz, we must not forget that Djokovic and Zverev were missing, and that Nadal was not short of games. Rafa and Absent they are still there, and I think Zverev, Medvedev and even Kyrgios will have something to say, says Eurosport commentator Arrese.

Not so long ago we were afraid of running out of players in the lite. Now, in addition to Rafa, there is Carlos. Both generate illusion in children, you see highly motivated children. Nadal still has it and with Carlos I think we are guaranteed at least 15 years at a high level, concludes Avendao.

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