Alcaraz says it would be a “tough challenge” to play Nadal at Roland Garros
The Spanish star admitted that facing the ‘King of Clay’ in Paris is one of the most difficult experiences for any player, especially if he’s fit.
The Italian Open has already started and Carlos Alcaraz is the main star of the tournament, alongside Novak Djokovic.
After his brilliant performances in Barcelona and Madrid, where he managed to successfully defend his 2022 titles, Carlitos hopes to extend his winning streak before flying to Paris again, as he was in the French capital on Monday for the Laureus Awards.
Alcaraz, who’s looking to win his 11th title as a professional, won the 2023 Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award.
The young player was one of the stars of the gala thanks to his impressive achievements last year when he became the youngest player ever to reach the No. 1 spot in the ATP rankings after winning his first major, the US Open, last September.
The Murcia native is the main favorite to win the title in Rome, although this could be a tricky tournament for him due to the number of games played so far this season, so fatigue could be a factor here, especially taking into consideration that Roland Garros is just around the corner.
Alcaraz has proved so far that there are no mountains big enough to climb, as he has defeated Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal in the past and has already won a Grand Slam tournament at the age of 20.
However, the young star is aware that he might experience his biggest test to date: defeating Rafa Nadal in his favorite tournament, Roland Garros.
The atmosphere, the slow clay courts, and the fact that games in Paris will be five-setters have suited Nadal’s game to perfection for 14 years.
Juan Carlos Ferrero’s pupil is aware of how difficult is to defeat Rafa in the French tournament, but the 22-time major winner hasn’t played any official game since he featured in the Australian Open in January.
“I hope to see him at Roland Garros at 100 percent. The world wants to see him at 100 percent”, he said to France TV.
When asked about the possibility of both fellow countrymen facing each other at Roland Garros, Carlitos admitted it would be a big challenge.
“It would be terrible, really. Playing against Rafa here in Paris would be quite a challenge, but I always want to play against the best. Let’s hope he gets 100 percent here in Paris and that we can see him enjoy playing tennis again. Obviously, I have a lot of respect for Rafa, he is one of the best athletes in history, one of the best tennis players”, he concluded.
While Rafa’s outstanding record in Paris makes him a much-feared opponent, Alcaraz currently has the advantage in terms of form and competition rhythm.