'Rafael Nadal's technique is unique while...', says top coach

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'Rafael Nadal's technique is unique while...', says top coach

Thursday is the day tennis changes at full speed. Quarterfinal spots are up for grabs at the Credit One Charleston Open today, with round of 16 action featuring top seeds Aryna Sabalenka, Paula Badosa and Karolina Pliskova, as well as 2019 champion Madison Keys.

No. 4 seed Ons Jabeur and No. 7 Leylah Fernandez will also take the court, but second-round matches will end after being delayed due to inclement weather on both Tuesday and Wednesday. Jabeur is one match away from victory against local hopeful Emma Navarro.

Credit One Stadium's lineup is similar to a late-stage Grand Slam day: No. 1 Sabalenka opens against American Amanda Anisimova, followed by the 2019 winner here in the Keys against Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic. Keys leads their head-to-head 2-1, with the winner of the first set capturing the match each time.

Sabalenka earned her first victory since February in a hard-fought victory over Alison Riske on Wednesday. She will have her hands full again when she takes on Anisimova, the American having won her previous two meetings in 2019.

Rafael Nadal had the best start to 2022. He won the first tournament he took part in, at the Melbourne Summer Set. This was his first tournament after a long hiatus due to a foot injury.

Rafa Nadal won the 2022 Australian Open

Patrick Mouratoglou lavished praise on Carlos Alcaraz, remarking that he agreed with the popular assessment that the Spaniard is the heir apparent to Rafael Nadal.

"I completely understand the comparison with Rafa. Firstly they are both Spanish, secondly they are super physical players. Third, they are mentally incredible. It is already a lot. I think they have the same style of play. I'm talking about Rafa today and not Rafa at the age of Alcaraz," Mouratoglou said.

"He was playing completely different, much further back with long rallies and spin and now he is more aggressive. I would say Carlos Alcaraz is the modern version of Rafa." The 51-year-old further declared that unlike Nadal, Alcaraz had a more classic approach to the game.

"There are a lot of differences too. There is a rightie and a leftie and that makes a big difference. Rafa's technique is unique and I would say Carlos Alcaraz's is a bit more classic," Mouratoglou said. "When you watch them play it doesn't look like they are the same, but in terms of quality there are similarities and in the style of play too."

Rafael Nadal