Carlos Alcaraz tells Rafael Nadal what he needs from him at Paris Olympics

Alcaraz addresses the upcoming Olympics and playing doubles with Nadal.

by Dzevad Mesic
Carlos Alcaraz tells Rafael Nadal what he needs from him at Paris Olympics
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Carlos Alcaraz reveals he is hoping Rafael Nadal will pass on some of his knowledge to him during this year's Paris Olympics as the 21-year-old is excited about teaming up with his idol for the doubles event and dreaming of it having a fairytale ending. 

Alcaraz, who celebrated his latest birthday in May, will be making his Olympic debut when the Paris Olympics kick off on July 26th. Last week, it was officially confirmed by the Spanish team that Alcaraz will also take part in the men's event with Nadal, who is playing his last Olympics. 

For over a year, it was heavily rumored that Alcaraz and Nadal were looking to form a doubles team for the Paris Olympics. Now, Alcaraz and Nadal sharing the same part of the court is set to become a reality. However, there is a catch - while Nadal has an Olympic gold medal that he won in 2016 with Marc Lopez, Alcaraz rarely plays doubles as his last appearance in the competition came two years ago.

And since Alcaraz and Nadal likely won't play any warm-up doubles tournaments, many are curious to see how it will all look when they take to the court as a pair.

"I mean, I didn’t expect to play doubles at the Olympic Games with Rafa. It is a unique moment for me but of course I am very happy about it. Let’s see how it’s going to be but it’s going to be a great time," Alcaraz said in his pre-tournament press conference at the Queen's Club.

“Honestly, I feel he is going to teach me how to deal with everything. I am the young guy who needs to grow up as a player, to grow up as a person as well. Of course it’s going to be my first Olympic Games. Everything is new for me, so I hope to learn a lot from him.”

Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal
Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal © Getty Images Entertainment- Chris Unger

Nadal on his expectations for the Paris Olympics doubles with Alcaraz

Since the tennis event of this year's Paris Olympics will be played on the clay courts of Roland Garros, it was clear from the start that Nadal's main focus would be on singles since everyone knows about his historic French Open success. And late last week, Nadal confirmed in one of his interviews that the singles would be a big goal of his but also noted that he would try his best to do well with Alcaraz in the doubles event. 

As mentioned above, Nadal won the doubles gold medal with Lopez at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Now, the 38-year-old Spaniard is hoping to win a doubles medal again, but this time with Alcaraz.

“I’m training to try and be ready for singles. I want to play at a high level in singles, and I know that if I can do that, I’ll be able to play at a good level in doubles,” Nadal told L’Equipe.

“That’s what I’ve always done: when I’ve played well in singles, I’ve played well in doubles. It’s true that I haven’t played doubles for a long time, and the ideal thing would have been to play a tournament beforehand, but that wasn’t possible.

“If Carlos is available and I’m physically fit, I think it would be interesting to train together the week before the Olympic tournament. The Olympics are a team affair. Doubles are almost as important as singles. It’s an opportunity to try and win a medal. That’s the ultimate goal.”

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Nadal acknowledged it is tougher for Alcaraz than for him

So far in his career, Alcaraz has only appeared in five doubles tournaments, with his last appearance coming at the 2022 Madrid Masters. Also, the fact that Alcaraz is currently competing on grass and preparing to defend his Wimbledon title is making it more challenging for his Olympic chances since likely won't have much time to prepare for Paris. 

On the other side, Nadal knows what it takes to win in doubles and he also stayed on clay after the French Open as he is set to play in Bastad, which starts on July 15th.

“It’s more complicated for Carlos than for me. I’m not playing in any tournaments between now and Bastad, while he has a Grand Slam coming up,” Nadal said.

“We’re at different points in our careers. I’ve been in his shoes and I know how a player like Carlos thinks. He has to do what he has to do, and try to win as much as possible.

“And me, I have to do my job, try to prepare myself for what really stimulates me. I’m past the days of trying to win, win, win every week. He’s in there. My job is to try to be ready to reach the best possible level before taking part in a tournament.”

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

One thing is for sure, there will be lots of hype and attention when Alcaraz and Nadal take to the court as a doubles pair.

Carlos Alcaraz Rafael Nadal Olympics