Record 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal tipped rising Spanish star Carlos Alcaraz to have a big future after their clash as the Madrid Masters. Nadal, a record 13-time French Open champion, handed a 6-1 6-2 loss to Alcaraz to progress into the Madrid Masters round-of-16.
Nadal got off to a fast start to the match, having earned back-to-back breaks to take an early 5-0 lead. Alcaraz got on the board in the sixth game, before Nadal served out for the opener in the following game. Alcaraz dropped his serve twice at the start of the second set but got one break back in the fourth game.
But Nadal broke Alcaraz again in the fourth game to take a 4-1 lead, before serving out for the match in the following game. "I really believe that he's a complete player. I mean, he's brave, he's able to go to the net very often.
Great forehand, great backhand. Of course needs to improve a little bit the serve, but he's just 18 today, so he has plenty of time," Nadal said of Alcaraz, per Tennis Majors. "Nothing is easy in this life. Be one of the best players in the world and fight for the most important titles is something very difficult, but I really believe that he's one of the guys that he can do it."
Nadal didn't ruin Alcaraz's 18th birthday
Alcaraz suffered a tough loss to Nadal on his 18th birthday but still he was in good spirits after the match. "I'm very happy to spend my birthday learning from the best," Alcaraz said, per Jose Morgado.
"This match showed me how to manage the tough moments and know how to play against these kind of players. If I could play more matches like this I would grow up faster as player "Before the match we didn't talk but after he wished me a good birthday and told me to continue to work hard."
Still, it was a good campaign for Alcaraz. Alcaraz, who beat Adrian Mannarino in the Madrid first round, clinched his maiden Masters win this week. Also, Alcaraz's dream of playing Nadal came true. "I am really, really happy.
This is a special win for me here in Spain, here at La Caja Magica,” Alcaraz said in his post-match interview after beating Mannarino. “[To] win a Masters 1000 match here is amazing”.