Carlos Alcaraz Reveals How Rafael Nadal Inspired Him Before US Open 2021

Published 09/07/2021, 12:15 PM EDT
MADRID, SPAIN – MAY 05: Rafael Nadal of Spain and Carlos Alcaraz of Spain pose for a picture before their second round match during day seven of the Mutua Madrid Open at La Caja Magicaon May 05, 2021 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)


Carlos Alcaraz of Spain has been the breakout star during the second half of 2021. After putting in the graft for a while now, his efforts are being repaid at the US Open 2021. The Spanish teenager has a relentless attitude on-court, very similar to another Spanish legend. Rafael Nadal, who also happens to be Alcaraz’s idol, has inspired him to become the player that he has grown into.

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Carlos Alcaraz dazzles at US Open 2021

Sep 3, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Carlos Alcaraz of Spain reacts after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece (not pictured) on day five of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Born in Murcia, Alcaraz started playing tennis at a very young age. He has seen a steady rise in rankings for the past year or so, and currently sits at No.55 in the world. In 2021, the Spaniard has performed consistently well across tournaments. Due to his ranking, Alcaraz has been unfortunate with draws on multiple occasions. On the contrary, he has overcome these opening blues at Flushing Meadows 2021, to reach his first ever quarterfinal.

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It all started in Winston-Salem, where the 18-year-old reached the semifinal. The result was a major confidence booster for the player. In New York, Alcaraz Garfia was drawn against 26th seed Cameron Norrie in the first round. He got through the match with ease, and his big challenge arrived in Round-3, in the form of Stefanos Tsitsipas. Showing no signs of stopping, Alcaraz defeated the Greek in a five-set thriller, and has never looked back since.

Alcaraz reveals what he learned from Rafael Nadal

WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 05: Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates a shot during a match against Lloyd Harris of South Africa on Day 6 during the Citi Open at Rock Creek Tennis Center on August 5, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Hailing from the same nation, 20-time Grand Slam winner Nadal has known Carlos Alcaraz since his younger days. Many fans around the world envision Alcaraz to be the next Nadal, and rightly so. The duo even faced each other earlier this year, at the Madrid Masters. On that occasion, Nadal romped to a dominant 6-1 6-2 victory. Looking up to the former World No.1, Alcaraz recently spoke about his learning from the Spanish giant.

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WATCH THIS STORY: Top Racket Smashing Moments at US Open Over the Years

“Thanks to Rafa [Nadal], I learned the importance of playing with high energy and giving everything from the first ball to the last,” evaluated Alcaraz. “The challenge of trying to go to where Rafa has gone is also a big motivation for me, even if I know it’s all but impossible.” Nadal, who has now competed against the teenager, has raved about his potential multiple times.

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Carlos Alcaraz is finally reaping rich dividends for his unrestrained hard work on the court. Can he go even further in the tournament? In the quarterfinal, he takes on another young gun in Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime. Let us wait and see who emerges victorious!

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Sankalp Harikrishnan

238 articles

Sankalp Harikrishnan is a tennis and NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He aspires to pursue Sports Journalism and has represented his institution in cricket, badminton, football, and table tennis. Apart from his professional desires, Sankalp does voluntary service with his friends to feed hungry animals on a regular basis.

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