Alcaraz has one big Federer ‘regret’ as coach shuts down Nadal claims

Carlos Alcaraz’s coach has opened up on one of his charge’s major regrets as he admitted the 19-year-old wanted to face Roger Federer before the Swiss star retired. Juan Carlos Ferrero was discussing Alcaraz’s comparisons with Rafael Nadal when he made the revelation, and the retired Spanish pro also shut down retirement talk surrounding the current world No 9.

Alcaraz has long drawn comparisons to his countryman Nadal, even mirroring some of the 36-year-old’s achievements in his own career as his US Open victory made him the first teenage Grand Slam champion since Nadal in 2005 while he also won Barcelona and broke into the top 10 exactly 17 years to the day that the 22-time Major champion did the same.

The 19-year-old has been tipped as a successor to the Big Three given his huge achievements at such a young age and Alcaraz’s coach Ferrero has now had his say on a changing of the guard as he revealed that both he and the world No 2 were left with “regret” following Federer’s retirement, though he rubbished the idea that Nadal would soon follow the 41-year-old in hanging up his racket. “Nadal won two Grand Slams last year. That’s a lot,” Ferrero told Essentially Sports.

“If he keeps being competitive, there’s no hurry for him to retire. He is playing less, but if he keeps being competitive when he does, why should we speak about retirement?” The 2003 French Open champion also said he wanted to see his compatriot play alongside the Big Three instead of take over from them, adding: “I wish Carlos can compete with Rafa and Novak as much as possible. It will make him better.”

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Ferrero explained that the seven-time title winner was already sad not to have faced Federer before the 20-time Grand Slam champion called it a day at last year’s Laver Cup after struggling with a knee injury for several years, and admitted that even he regretted it too. “He regrets that he hadn’t been able to compete against Roger. Me too,” the retired Spaniard said.

For now, Alcaraz will have to get used to competing without Djokovic and Nadal as he will be the top seed at the upcoming Indian Wells Masters in their absence. Current world No 1 Djokovic was forced to pull out when his vaccine waiver request to enter the country was reportedly denied, while Nadal is continuing to recover from a leg injury he picked up in Australia.

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And the Spanish teenager even has a chance to overtake Djokovic for the top spot in the rankings less than two months after the Serb dethroned him. Alcaraz became the youngest world No 1 in ATP history last year after winning the US Open and stayed there until the end of January, when Djokovic won the Australian Open while the 19-year-old was sidelined with injury.

But if Alcaraz wins Indian Wells, he will return to No 1 on March 20 following the conclusion of the first Masters of the season. It will be tough for him to stay at the top though, as he is the defending champion in Miami and must win the title for a second year running or be dethroned again on April 4.

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