Rafael Nadal made the Madrid Open debut in 2003 at 17, losing to Alex Corretja in the opening round. The rising Spanish star Carlos Alcaraz was only five-month-old at that moment, and now he will have a chance to meet Rafa in the Madrid Open second round, 18 years later!
Carlos has been among the youngsters to watch since 2019, leading his 2003 generation towards many notable age records and making a name for himself in the season behind us. Ranked outside the top-300, Carlos was the player to beat on the Challenger Tour following the season's restart in August, winning three titles and moving closer to a place in the top-100.
Carlos Alcaraz will meet his idol Rafael Nadal in the Madrid Open second round.
At the beginning of 2021, Carlos qualified for the Australian Open and earned one victory in Melbourne to become 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 set the clash against his idol Rafael Nadal on his 18th birthday. Speaking about Rafa, Carlos said that it's a dream come true for him, watching the 20-time Major champion 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 really 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 trying to improve those that didn't work well. My goal is to finish the season inside the top-50," says Carlos Alcaraz.