Marin Cilic says rising Spanish star Carlos Alcaraz reminds him more of Pablo Carreno Busta than Rafael Nadal in terms of style.
Ever since Alcaraz starting making his mark in tennis as a teenager, he has inevitably been compared to compatriot Nadal.
Alexander Zverev added to those comparisons after playing him in Acapulco, saying: “He reminds me of Nadal, a right-hander obviously, but the heaviness of the ball is very similar.”
Cilic is the latest established ATP Tour player to get a good look at Alcaraz, beating the 17-year-old 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 in Estoril on Tuesday.
He, though, says Alcaraz is more reminiscent of another Spanish player than the current world number two, although he is no less impressed with what he saw.
“He was fighting really hard,” Cilic said. “But I think that’s also a Spanish school of tennis.
“They are extremely disciplined, they play very hard, they are pushing themselves physically and you can see that he is also a hard worker.
“[Those] are great things for the sport and those things are going to help him to improve.
“I would say he not too far from Pablo Carreno Busta’s just with the style, but I would say Carlos has just a bit better forehand and I would say Pablo has a better backhand.
“Being 17 and already with that kind of a game that he’s got, he’s going to be only improving with matches at this level.
“He will definitely have with more and more matches a better and better game and he’s going to be lifting up [his level].
“Definitely he can improve in some shots and parts of his game, but already he is looking like a pro player and playing really well at this level.”
For more exclusive content from Tennisbuzz, including news, features, trivia, promotions and more, please be sure to sign up for our newsletter below or via our home page.
Why not test your tennis knowledge by tackling one of our fiendish quizzes too?