Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz met for the first time on the youngster’s 18th birthday in Madrid 2021. The more experienced rival scored a 6-1, 6-2 victory in an hour and 17 minutes for a place in the last 16Carlos was already among the youngsters to watch, leading his 2003 generation and making regular improvements under the guidance of a former world no.
1, Juan Carlos Ferrero. Rafa praised his compatriot and his potential, wishing him all the best and predicting a bright future. Alcaraz qualified for the Australian Open at the start of the season and became the youngest player with a Major win in Melbourne since 2014.
A teenager reached the Marbella semi-final and scored his first Masters 1000 victory in Madrid on Monday against Adrian Mannarino. Carlos earned a bagel in the second set and got a chance to play against his idol Rafael Nadal on his 18th birthday.
The youngster could only do a little against the mighty opponent, experiencing an injury in the early stages and playing way below his best. Rafa lost serve once and turned over 60% of the return points won into five breaks that kept him safe.
Nadal hit 13 winners and eight unforced errors and took advantage of almost 30 unforced mistakes from an 18-year-old.
Rafael Nadal honored his young compatriot Carlos Alcaraz after their first duel.
Carlos made a strong start in the first game and earned a break chance, wasting it and allowing Rafa to close the game with a service winner.
Nadal forced the rival’s error in the second game to grab the first break before Carlos experienced that injury a few minutes later. Rafa won the third game with a volley winner and seized another break for a 4-0 advantage.
The more experienced Spaniard held at love in game five with an incredible forehand down the line winner and held at love with a service winner to wrap up the opener in 36 minutes at 5-1. Continuing where he left off, a five-time Madrid Open champion scored two breaks at the beginning of the second set and forged a 3-0 lead before Alcaraz pulled one break back to reduce the deficit and show his fighting spirit.
Leaving that game behind him, Rafa placed a perfect return winner for a break at love in game five and crossed the finish line with a smash winner at 5-2 on his third match point.”Carlos has massive potential. He is young, dedicated and a good guy.
He already has an excellent level of tennis today, and I believe he will be a fantastic player soon. I wish him all the very best. As a Spanish player and tennis fan, I think we need someone like Carlos; here,” Rafael Nadal said.