Former Spanish tennis star David Ferrer admitted the post-Rafael Nadal era won't be easy for Spanish tennis but he is optimistic about their future because of the Carlos Alcaraz emergence. Nadal, who turns 36 in June, is still a dominant force on tennis as earlier this year he won a record 21st Grand Slam at the Australian Open.
However, Nadal continues to be plagued by physical issues as in Indian Wells he sustained a stress fracture in one of his ribs. "The post-Nadal stage will be difficult," Ferrer told La Vanguardia, per Sportskeeda.
"Rafa's shadow covers a lot. There will be no other player like him. But we are lucky. We have Carlos Alcaraz who is going to be a benchmark for Spanish tennis. But I don't like to compare him to Rafa because he is unique and different.
He is special."
Spanish fans hoping Alcaraz emulates Nadal
The Alcaraz and Nadal comparison increased to a whole new level after the 18-year-old became a Masters champion in Miami. Renowned tennis coach Patrick Mouratoglou described Alcaraz as the "modern version of Rafa."
"I completely understand the comparison with Rafa. Firstly they are both Spanish, secondly they are super physical players. Third, they are mentally incredible. It is already a lot. I think they have the same style of play.
I'm talking about Rafa today and not Rafa at the age of Alcaraz," Mouratoglou said in a video posted on his Instagram. "He was playing completely different, much further back with long rallies and spin and now he is more aggressive.
I would say Carlos Alcaraz will be the modern version of Rafa." Meanwhile, Alcaraz is just trying to be the best possible version of himself. "I don’t think at all about being the new Rafa Nadal, or that I have to get to win as much as him.
I want to be Carlos Alcaraz, that’s it. Otherwise I would put too much pressure on myself: if you imagine to win 21 Slams, you only hurt yourself," Alcaraz said.