Paul Annacone, a former coach of tennis icon Roger Federer, has recently shared his thoughts on the rising star and current World No. 1, Carlos Alcaraz.
He firmly believes that the young Spaniard's playing style bears a closer resemblance to the Swiss Maestro than to his compatriot, Rafael Nadal. The 19-year-old recently called for an end to comparisons with Rafael Nadal, but it seems that another one won't be needed.
Alcaraz, the recent Indian Wells champion, has been drawing comparisons to both Federer and Nadal since the beginning of his career. However, Annacone is convinced that Alcaraz's style of play is more akin to that of the 20-time Grand Slam champion than to the aggressive, grinding style that has characterized Nadal's career as he revealed in a talk to The New York Times.
"I think he’s a lot more like Roger than Rafa, because Rafa couldn’t take the ball early like this when he was 19, and Rafa couldn’t come forward like this. Roger could always stay on the baseline and always look like he had time, and that’s how this kid looks."
Annacone highlighted several aspects of Alcaraz's game that echo Federer's approach on the court. He pointed out that, like Federer, Alcaraz is comfortable taking the ball early and coming to the net with ease. This skill set stands in contrast to Nadal's early career, when the Mallorcan was primarily known for his impressive defensive skills and relentless topspin groundstrokes.
“The interesting thing for me is watching someone who is this athletically talented with his running, jumping, explosiveness and flexibility, but also has the hand-eye coordination to be able to take the ball early on the rise, come forward and volley. He also can back up and change pace. He can do everything.”
With each passing tournament, Alcaraz is solidifying his place as a future tennis legend. His game, rich with elements of both Federer and Nadal's playing styles, is captivating audiences and inspiring a new generation of tennis players and soon enough, comparisons won't be needed as the youngster is building a path of his own.