'Facing Rafael Nadal is a dream come true,' young gun recalls

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'Facing Rafael Nadal is a dream come true,' young gun recalls

Rafael Nadal is the best Spanish player in the previous two decades, with 21 Majors and 36 Masters 1000 titles on his tally. Carlos Alcaraz is the most significant Spanish prospect for the following ten or 15 years, moving closer to a place in the top-15 at 18.

The youngster had a chance to meet his idol as a junior, and he has already met Rafa twice on the court. The first duel came in Madrid last year, on Carlos 18th birthday. Nadal made the Madrid Open debut in 2003 at 17, losing to Alex Corretja in the opening round.

Alcaraz was only five-month-old at that moment, and he got a chance to play against the legend on his birthday. Carlos made a great progress since the season's restart in August 2020, finishing on the verge of the top-100 and hoping for more in 2021.

Carlos Alcaraz met his idol Rafael Nadal in the 2021 Madrid Open second round.

At the beginning of 2021, Carlos qualified for the Australian Open and earned one victory in Melbourne. He became the youngest winner of a Major match since Thanasi Kokkinakis seven years earlier.

After the semi-final run in Marbella, Carlos scored his first Masters 1000 victory in Madrid, beating Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 6-0 in 71 minutes to beat Nadal's record and become the youngest match-winner in Madrid! Speaking about Rafa, Carlos said that it's a dream come true for him, watching the great Spaniard playing many times before and feeling thrilled about sharing the court with him.

"It's amazing to score a win in front of the home crowd in Madrid. Since I was a kid, I have been coming to this event, and I wanted to compete here in Madrid. I'm thrilled. I have watched many of Rafael Nadal's matches. I always wished to play against him and learn from those encounters.

It's a dream come true. I will give my best against Rafa, and let's see what will happen. I have many friends on the Tour; I'm always trying to say hello and be kind to everyone. Jannik Sinner and Lorenzo Musetti are excellent players.

I know Musetti well, and I have watched Sinner too; I wish them all the best. I'm trying to improve my game in every tournament I play. I'm using every match to grow and gain experience. I'm keeping the good things and improving those that did not work well. My goal is to finish the season inside the top-50," says Carlos Alcaraz.