How amazing must fans of Spanish tennis feel? Spain is currently on a close to three-decade run of having one of the two or three best players in tennis. First, Rafael Nadal started owning the French Open in the late-2000s. Now, Carlos Alcaraz, who seems to have been 20 years old for about four years now, will probably win about 15 Grand Slams or more over the next 15 years.
But lately, Carlos Alcaraz has struggled more than he has at any point since he entered the top 10 of the ATP rankings in 2022. He is still ranked No. 2, and he will likely finish there as well in the year-end rankings, but he is not playing like the dominant player he was up until July of this year. Alcaraz has lost earlier and earlier in tournaments lately.
During the Rolex Paris Masters, Carlos Alcaraz was forced out in the second round by ATP No. 45 Roman Safiullin. After the match, he said he wasn’t feeling fresh, but he likely meant this more mentally than physically. Maintaining the proper focus to win tournament after tournament is tough for anyone not named Novak Djokovic.
Carlos Alcaraz gets a virtual hug from Rafael Nadal
Dealing with failure simply is not something Carlos Alcaraz has had to do very much in his tennis life. Rafael Nadal seems to have taken notice of this stress as well. Of course, Nadal has been a top-level player for nearly two decades, so he has a pretty good idea of how to deal with the ups and downs of tennis.
At the Western and Southern Open in August, the tournament posted a quick interview with Alcaraz on Instagram. In the video, Alcaraz says, “Well, I want to be one of the best tennis players in history. To, you know, being at the same table as the legend, Rafa (Nadal). Rafa was my hero when I was young.”
Recently, Nadal posted a reaction to the video where he said, “Big hug and good luck in Turin” followed by two emojis. Turin, Italy is the site of the ATP Finals which begin next week. Would Nadal have posted this had Carlos Alcaraz not been struggling of late? Maybe, but there is no doubt that Nadal responding to the post is only going to make Alcaraz feel better heading into the ATP Finals.
In other Alcaraz news, Team Europe captain Bjorn Borg announced that the Spaniard will participate in the 2024 Laver Cup. The event will be held from September 20 through 22 in Berlin, Germany. Carlos Alcaraz, due to his ATP ranking, qualified in 2023, too, but he opted not to play.