Carlos Alcaraz reacts to copying Rafael Nadal as teen enters top 10 after Barcelona win

Charlie Stayt and Mike Bushell reminisce about tennis matches

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Carlos Alcaraz shared his thoughts on replicating the great Rafael Nadal after winning the Barcelona Open. The Spaniard triumphed in front of his home fans to win his third title of the year and became the first 18-year-old since his legendary compatriot to win the ATP 500 event.

“I’ve always been a normal guy. I’m not scared of fame, I’m not going to change the person I am,” Alcaraz said following another impressive victory. “I’m happy to know that at 18 years old I’m in the Top 10, and to do it [at] the same age as my idol Rafa is impressive.”

The youngster continues to make waves on the tennis circuit and his most recent showcased not only his supreme abilities on the court, but also his mental strength and resiliency. Due to adverse weather conditions, Alcaraz had to play both his Barcelona round of 16 and quarter-final matches on the same day.

He dispatched fellow Spanish star Jaume Munar 6-3, 6-3, before defeating Monte Carlo champion and overcoming last year’s Barcelona finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 later that evening. His trickiest match of the week came in the semi-final against Australia’s Alex de Minaur.

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He saved two match points in the second set, one with an outrageous forehand pass on the run, as he overcame a slow start to notch a 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 6-4 win in three hours and 39 minutes. Riding a wave of confidence, Alcaraz comprehensively defeated Pablo Carreno-Busta, another Spaniard, 6-3, 6-2 in the final to claim the title.

Over the past year, Alcaraz has progressed at an alarming rate. He was still outside the top 100 at this stage in 2021, and marked as a player with the potential to be one of the world’s best. Today, Alcaraz broke into the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings at World No. 9.

He is the first teenager to achieve this feat since Andy Murray did in 2007. Alcaraz has already been rather successful so early in his career and he harbours ambitions to reach the top of the game and win the biggest titles.

“I’d like to be World No. 1, a Grand Slam champion, winner of Olympic medals… I dream big,” Alcaraz said. “I don’t have any limits. I want to keep playing at the level I’m at and I think that if I keep going like this I have a lot of options to keep going up.

“I want to keep enjoying myself on the court, I don’t want to touch the ceiling yet.” Alcaraz will hope to add to his trophy cabinet when he competes at the upcoming Madrid Open, which could see the return of Nadal from injury.

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