Born in 2003, Carlos Alcaraz has been among the youngsters to watch in the last couple of years. Carlos did a stellar job when the season restarted in August 2020, winning a couple of Challenger titles and moving closer to a place in the top-100.
Alcaraz claimed the first ATP title in Umag last year, becoming the youngest ATP champion since Kei Nishikori in Delray Beach 2008. The Spaniard advanced into the first Major quarter-final at the US Open and wrapped up a notable season with the ATP Next Gen Finals crown in Milan.
Eager for more, Carlos has won 18 out of 20 matches in 2022, claiming his first Masters 1000 crown and standing on the verge of the top-10. The Spaniard became the youngest ATP 500 (since 2009) champion in Rio de Janeiro and reached the Indian Wells semi-final.
Rafael Nadal toppled him after over three hours of an epic battle, and the youngster bounced back in Miami. With a boost on his side, Carlos went all the way to conquer the crown and become the third-youngest Masters 1000 champion after Michael Chang and Rafael Nadal.
Rafa and Carlos played their first match in Madrid last year, and the older Spaniard was impressed by his young compatriot. Nadal defeated Alcaraz 6-1, 6-2 in Caja Magica, with the youngster getting injured in the early stages and failing to produce his best tennis.
Rafa lost serve once and turned over 60% of the return points into five breaks. Carlos created a break chance in the first game, and Rafa saved it with a service winner to avoid an early setback.
Rafael Nadal predicted Carlos Alcaraz's bright future.
Nadal grabbed a break in game two, and Alcaraz injured himself in the next one.
Rafa opened a 5-0 gap and fired a service winner at 5-1 to seal the opener in 36 minutes. Pushing strong, Nadal broke twice at the beginning of the second set for a 3-0 lead before Alcaraz pulled one break back to reduce the deficit.
Rafa broke at love in game five and seized the third match point with a smash winner at 5-2. Praising his young compatriot, Rafa said that Carlos has a massive potential to carry him towards the top in the upcoming years. "Carlos has massive potential.
He is young, dedicated and a good guy. He already has an excellent level of tennis today, and I believe that he will be a fantastic player in the near future. I wish him all the very best. As a Spanish player and Spanish tennis fan, we need someone like Carlos, and it's great to have him here," Rafael Nadal said.