Rafael Nadal's record of 13 titles at Roland Garros is a feat destined to remain undefeated for a long time, if not forever. 2020 allowed the Spanish phenomenon to take yet another title in the French capital, however in adverse conditions, thus equaling the 20 Grand Slams of eternal rival Roger Federer.
The former world number 1 will even try to overtake the Australian Open 2021, which will kick off on February 8 to allow all players to carry out the two weeks of mandatory quarantine. The 34-year-old Majorcan, who has only triumphed once in Melbourne Park (in 2009), will train in Adelaide alongside Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem and the top three players in the WTA rankings.
In recent days, another Iberian tennis player has risen to the fore. We are talking about Carlos Alcaraz, who hit the main draw of a Grand Slam for the first time in his young career. In a recent interview with Eurosport, his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero said that his protégé should not try to emulate Nadal's exploits.
Ferrero on Rafael Nadal
"Comparisons are inevitable, we know, but the fewer there are the better. We all know that matching what Rafael Nadal has done is impossible," Juan Carlos Ferrero said. "So we want him (Carlos) to be calm and to remain focused on tennis, regardless of whether he becomes top 10, No.
1 or No. 18. The important thing is that he works hard; the numbers and the results will come in the future." Ferrero believes that comparisons with the likes of Rafael Nadal come with their own set of pros and cons, but he assured everyone that Carlos Alcaraz is committed to working hard and improving his game.
"We try to create our own bubble, although we know that Carlos is already on the lips of many," Ferrero added. "Our entire group tries to keep him so calm, away from any kind of comparison. We know that it is a good thing that they compare him with the best, but on the other hand he is not as good, that puts unnecessary added pressure on him.
The good thing is that he takes it well, he is making his way, working and achieving things. Even Toni Nadal, the uncle and former coach of Rafael Nadal, is seriously impressed by Carlos Alcaraz. "Carlos Alcaraz has become, with the endorsement of his results and his game, not only the great hope of Spanish tennis, but also Rafael Nadal's natural replacement," Toni wrote.
"The first time I saw him play it was precisely in a tournament that I don't remember and, despite his defeat that day, I predicted that his future in the world of tennis would be very bright," he added.