What is the true physical level of Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz?

The two tennis players will compete in The Netflix Slam in Las Vegas in a few hours: what is their current state of form, in view of Indian Wells?

by Lorenzo Ciotti
What is the true physical level of Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz?
© Chris Unger / Stringer Getty Images Sport

Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz will compete in a few hours in the highly anticipated exhibition The Netflix Slam, which will be broadcast in live streaming on the online platform.

The two Spanish tennis players, who both arrive at this event not in 100% physical condition, are ready to delight the Las Vegas crowd, in which they will be a real appetizer of BNP Paribas Open, the first ATP Masters 1000 of the season that will be played in Indian Wells. In the presentation of the event, the Spanish champion made a series of interesting statements about the future and the current moment he is experiencing.

"To be honest, I don't know how I'm doing. I haven't played a set since Brisbane. The fact that I'm here is already good news. I don't know what level I'll be at but right now it's the least important thing. I'm excited to train with other professionals, to play with Carlos in Las Vegas," underlined Rafa, revealing how the preparation for the Californian tournament did not satisfy him.

"The priority is to try to get out of Indian Wells unscathed. If I have to leave something out, it is during the pre-clay season. It may or may not be my last season, I haven't decided 100% yet," he added in interview reported by MARCA.

"I would like to be in Monte-Carlo, then I have to analyze how I am at every moment, my feelings and where I most want to play. I will try to do my best to achieve my goals, I want to do the things I really want to do to be happy," he explained.

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal© Chris Unger / Stringer Getty Images Sport

On Alcaraz, Nadal analyzed: "He has an energy, a passion and a self-confidence that helps him face important moments with little fear. Carlos is fresh air for tennis, he is a special player, one of the most complete that I've ever seen at his age. He has all the records and a wonderful physique. He's where he deserves."

Nadal's current fitness is a big unknown. But there is one thing to say. Nadal was showing an excellent level of tennis at the 2024 Brisbane International before suffering yet another injury in his career, which compromised the first two months of the season. But Rafa looked physically fit. If he started from those sensations, the path could be positive.

And how is Alcaraz?

Carlitos is looking forward to having fun and playing the exhibition match in Las Vegas against Rafael Nadal. In the presentation event before the match, the talented Spanish player talked and reassured the fans a little about his current conditions after the injury suffered at the ATP 500 in Rio de Janeiro.

"The ankle is very good. The time was short but I worked every day. The sensations are improving," he declared in the interview also reported by Marca.

On the match that awaits him in a few hours against Nadal, Alcaraz explained: "It's always good, we had two good battles and it's better not to remember the first one. It's good preparation for Indian Wells, we'll see what we need to improve and what our current level is."

The 20-year-old Spaniard revealed how he would have liked to spend more moments together with his countryman Nadal.

"All the personal experiences I had with him were incredible. It would have been great to spend more time with him. I always try to enjoy every day that I meet him and learn as much as I can. We are colleagues and rivals."

Carlos Alcaraz
Carlos Alcaraz© Chris Unger / Stringer Getty Images Entertainment

Carlitos then reflected on the period he experienced after the Wimbledon victory, which was not satisfactory compared to others in terms of results.

"The American tour I did after London wasn't bad at all. People think that if you don't win titles it's bad and that's not the case. I reached the quarterfinals in the Master 1000 in Canada, the final in Cincinnati against Djokovic and the semifinals at the US Open. I don't have to lower my level and concentration.

This season I started with good feelings in Australia, in Buenos Aires I didn't feel at my best and in Rio it was something unexpected. I don't see what happened after Wimbledon as a failure or a frustration. I have to learn from experiences and moments," he said.

As regards his physical condition, it must be said that the ankle injury suffered in Rio de Janerio is still quite fresh and recent. Luckily, it wasn't a serious physical problem, but the question I ask myself is: will he have recovered in time for the upcoming Indian Wells ATP Masters 1000?

Barring miracles, Carlitos will necessarily not be able to arrive in California in 100% of his physical form. It's hard to recover - even from a not serious injury - in so few days and for a challenging tournament like Indian Wells.

Rafael Nadal Carlos Alcaraz Indian Wells