Rome, May 11: Rafael Nadal wants the comparisons between himself and Carlos Alcaraz to stop as he hopes his compatriot will not come under too much pressure.
Alcaraz defeated Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev to win the Madrid Open last week.
The 19-year-old has a 28-3 record for the 2022 season and has risen to world number six in the ATP rankings, having won four tournaments this year.
His incredible form has drawn plenty of comparisons to Nadal, who was a teenager when he burst onto the scene in the mid-2000s.
Nadal bounced back from his defeat to Alcaraz by defeating John Isner at the Internazionali d'Italia on Wednesday.
The 21-time grand slam champion is going for an 11th title in Rome, but he could not avoid fielding questions about Alcaraz in his post-match news conference.
"I do not know. And I won't be able to talk every day about who will be or who is stronger that day, will I? I forgot what I was like," Nadal replied when asked who he thought was a better player at the age of 19 out of himself and Alcaraz.
"The only thing we can do is enjoy the career of an extraordinary player like Carlos. But stop comparing him to me.
"If he manages to win 25 grand slams, it will be fantastic for him and for our country. But let him enjoy his personal career. I have enjoyed my personal career.
"Probably in 2005, I wouldn't have said about myself that I was great, but I thought I was good enough. That's all. Different moments. Different careers. A different way of approaching things because times are changing.
"But let's enjoy it. We don't [need to] put further pressure on him. Don't ask me every time, because I'll always tell you the same thing.
"It's good for our sport. Honestly, in a selfish way, as a viewer, to have someone like Carlos who will enjoy their career for the next few years is fantastic.
"But now I'm still playing. I am focused on trying to do the things I have to do. That's all."