Rafael Nadal Congratulates Carlos Alcaraz: Spain's Legacy Continues

Rafael Nadal praised his compatriot after his first Roland Garros title

by Jovica Ilic
Rafael Nadal Congratulates Carlos Alcaraz: Spain's Legacy Continues
© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

On Sunday, Carlos Alcaraz clinched his first Roland Garros title at 21, becoming the youngest champion in Paris since Rafael Nadal in 2007! Nadal, who lost in the opening round in Paris for the first time, praised his young compatriot and congratulated him on his third Major title.

Alcaraz became the seventh Spanish Roland Garros champion in the Open era, extending the legacy of the greatest clay-court nation. Carlos lost to Novak Djokovic in last year's semi-final in Paris and changed that last week.

The young gun toppled Jannik Sinner and Alexander Zverev from two sets to one down, overcoming all the challenges and becoming the youngest winner in the French capital since his idol. Carlos skipped the Rome Masters due to issues with his right hand, resting and preparing for Paris.

The Spaniard played well in the opening five rounds, dropping one set and ousting the former finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas for a place in the semi-final.

Carlos Alcaraz, Roland Garros 2024© Tim Goode / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Alcaraz met his great rival Jannik Sinner in a battle for a place in the final and prevailed 2-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 after four hours and nine minutes, reaching his third Major final at 21.

Two young guns battled with physical issues, cramping but giving everything in a tight encounter. Carlos trailed two sets to one before raising his level, embracing 11 consecutive holds without facing a break point and mounting the pressure on the other side.

Sinner could not endure it, losing serve two times in sets four and five and suffering his first loss at Majors this year. Jannik won two points more than Carlos but missed the crucial ones. The Italian fought bravely despite the issues, forging two advantages but failing to bring the victory home.

The Spaniard landed 65 winners and 58 unforced errors, leaving the Italian on a 39-44 ratio. We witnessed six breaks on each side, and Alcaraz kept everything under control in his service games from the end of the third set.

Carlos Alcaraz, Roland Garros 2024© Tim Goode / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Rafael Nadal congratulated Carlos Alcaraz on his Roland Garros title.

They stayed close to each other in the shortest, mid-range and most extended rallies, and the Spaniard made the difference in the quickest exchanges in the decider.

Carlos met Alexander Zverev in the title clash and embraced another five-setter. The German looked good to emerge at the top following the third set before the Spaniard presented a turnaround and scored a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 win in four hours and 19 minutes.

Carlos became the youngest player to win Major titles on three different surfaces, writing history and standing as one of the most successful U21 players ever. Alcaraz squandered a massive advantage in the third set, losing ground and struggling to find his A-game.

However, he promptly recovered and dominated sets four and five, sealing the deal in style and lifting the trophy. Alexander served at 73% but drew nothing from that, struggling behind the second serve big time and giving away 45% of the points in his games.

Carlos Alcaraz, Roland Garros 2024© Getty Images Sport

Carlos delivered nine games from 16 opportunities while suffering six breaks, making the difference with a strong performance in the final stage of the encounter.

They hit slightly more unforced errors than winners, and Alcaraz went for his shots more often than his opponent. The Spaniard grabbed 14 points more and had the advantage in the shortest, mid-range and most extended rallies for a well-deserved victory.

The encounter started with back-to-back breaks before Carlos took charge. The young gun served well in the remaining games and clinched breaks in games five and nine, taking the opener 6-3 in 43 minutes. Zverev raised his level in the second set, offering his opponent no break points and pushing strong in three return games.

Carlos denied three break points in the first game, avoiding an early setback. However, the Spaniard played a wild forehand in the fifth game, losing serve and falling behind.

Carlos Alcaraz, Roland Garros 2024© Tim Goode / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Alcaraz lost serve again in the seventh game after a double fault, and Zverev wrapped up the set with a forehand winner at 5-2, locking the overall result after an hour and 35 minutes.

They served well in the opening five games of the third set before Alexander sprayed a forehand error at 2-3, getting broken at love and propelling his rival in front. Carlos denied three break points in game seven, producing a vital hold and moving 5-2 in front.

The Spaniard served for the set in game nine and lost the ground, playing loose shots and dropping serve. Zverev grabbed another break in game 11 and saved a break point at 6-5, rattling off five games and stealing the set for a massive lead after two hours and 40 minutes.

With no room for errors, Alcaraz stepped in on the return in the fourth set, delivering three straight breaks and taking it 6-1, gathering a boost ahead of the decider and becoming the favorite. The final set saw break points in five consecutive games, and the younger player took charge in the pivotal moments.

Carlos denied four break points in the fourth game and broke his rival in games two and seven, sealing the deal on serve at 5-2 and celebrating his first Roland Garros crown.

Rafael Nadal Carlos Alcaraz Roland Garros