Carlos Alcaraz candidly opens up on Rafael Nadal still being his 'hero'

Nadal inspired Alcaraz to pick up a racket and pursue a pro tennis career.

by Dzevad Mesic
Carlos Alcaraz candidly opens up on Rafael Nadal still being his 'hero'
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Carlos Alcaraz says Rafael Nadal remains his "tennis hero" as the 20-year-old Spaniard also highlights that the 22-time Grand Slam champion inspired him to play tennis. Just like Nadal, Alcaraz also started doing major things in tennis at a very young age.

At 20, Alcaraz has 13 titles in his collection - he is also a two-time Grand Slam champion - and has been ranked at No 1 several times already. "My hero was Rafael Nadal and still is Rafael Nadal. Since I started playing tennis, I look up to Rafa, every time that I watch his matches.

Of course, I look up to Roger Federer. But you know, it has always been Rafa. I've always watched tennis, you know, the big things he has achieved. Big matches he has played. Yeah, the first time I met him, I was 12 years old. It was in Mutua Madrid Open, I was playing the under 12 and he was playing a semifinal or something like that in the big one.

And yeah, I took a photo with him and this was the first time that I met him," Alcaraz said.

Alcaraz on people comparing him to Nadal

When Alcaraz started making a real breakthrough in the first half of the 2022 season, people started talking more and more about him being "the new Nadal." Those talks have cooled off a bit but there are still people who love to occasionally label the Alcaraz as the new Nadal.

Addressing that, Alcaraz suggests he is trying not to give too much attention to it. "I’m the same guy as always, no matter how famous I get, I’m not going to change. I don’t take too much notice of people who compare me with Rafa, Federer or Djokovic," Alcaraz said. In 2024, Alcaraz could potentially team up with Nadal for the doubles event at the Paris Olympics.

Carlos Alcaraz Rafael Nadal