Alcaraz makes Nadal and Djokovic pledge as he eyes ‘my own history’

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Carlos Alcaraz isn’t out to replicate the storybook careers of Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal despite the teenage star now targeting wins over both tennis icons. Alcaraz, 19, brushed aside Daniil Medvedev 6-3 6-2 in straight sets during the final of the Indian Wells Masters this month, regaining his spot as the world No 1.

He will now need to successfully defend his Miami Open crown to stay there, with his campaign getting underway on Friday. His chances will be boosted by Djokovic still being barred from the US over his refusal to get vaccinated against Covid.

The Spaniard has a formidable record in America, winning his first Grand Slam title at the 2022 US Open last year. But that still leaves him with a significant way to go if he is to match the rally racked up by the Serbian and his compatriot Nadal.

Djokovic winning the Australian Open in January saw him level Nadal’s Slam record on 22. But whilst the 35-year-old has made no secret of his desire to end his career with the most major titles, Alcaraz insists it isn’t a statistic he’s chasing.

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“I want to beat Nadal and Djokovic, but I am not here to take any Grand Slams away from them or prevent either of them from being the best of all time,” he told Eurosport. “I am just trying to write my own history.”

And the Villena-based star outlined what he wants his eventual legacy to be: “At the end of my career, I would like to be remembered as a good person, a normal, natural and happy person,” he insisted. “Playing on instinct and joy are two tenants of my game. If I don’t play on instinct and if I don’t play with joy, my tennis is not the same. I think life is better that way. That’s the most important thing of all.”

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Alcaraz missed the Australian Open with hamstring problems, and claimed his layoff taught him some harsh lessons: “The injury has been a learning process,” he admitted. “I had to be calm and it has helped me to mature a lot off the court. These were not easy days for me, they were quite hard. I had to stay focused and train to come back stronger.”

As for wanting to create his own history, Alcaraz has already achieved that in Miami. He beat Casper Ruud in the final last year to win his first Masters 1000 title, becoming the youngest men’s champion in the tournament’s history.

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