If Carlos Alcaraz defeats Adrian Mannarino, the home crowd at Caja Magica will witness a mouthwatering Madrid Open second-round clash between him and the 20-time Major winner Rafael Nadal. Born in 2003, the 17-year-old Carlos Alcaraz has been among the youngster to watch in the last two seasons, earning many milestones for his generation and building his way towards the top-100.
Carlos won the first Futures title in July 2019 at 16 and played in the first Challenger quarter-final a couple of weeks later to make a name for himself ahead of 2020. Everything worked well for the young gun at the beginning of the previous season, conquering two Futures titles and securing the first ATP victory at the ATP 500 event in Rio.
Alcaraz was ranked outside the top-300 when the season restarted, but that was hardly an obstacle for him. The youngster stormed over his rivals to claim three Challenger titles by the end of the season, entering the top-150 and setting high goals ahead of 2021.
Led by a former world no. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, Carlos continued where he left in 2020, qualifying for the season's first Major in January and becoming the youngest player with a victory at Majors since Thanasi Kokkinakis in 2014 a month later.
Carlos gathered experience in Acapulco and Miami before finding the winning streak again at home in Marbella, beating Nikola Milojevic, Feliciano Lopez and Casper Ruud to become the youngest ATP semi-finalist since Alexander Zverev in 2014.
Rafael Nadal praised his young compatriot Carlos Alcaraz in Madrid.
After a well-deserved rest, a teenager suffered early losses in Barcelona and Estoril, hoping for a better run in Madrid and wishing to meet his idol in the second round.
Praising his young compatriot, Nadal described Alcaraz as a player with great present and future and honored his values and dedication. "Alcaraz is a very young player with a great present and even brighter future. He has positive and appropriate values for today's society.
He can be a good example, and if he came to play against me, it would be significant for him. All I can do is keep working and compete at my best level since the beginning of the tournament. I hope for a good start," Rafael Nadal said.