“Know a Little of His Game”: Carlos Alcaraz Challenges Rafael Nadal Ahead of Mutua Madrid Open 2021 Clash

Published 05/04/2021, 6:00 AM EDT
Tennis – ATP 500 – Barcelona Open – Real Club de Tennis Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain – April 23, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his quarter final match against Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie REUTERS/Albert Gea


17-year-old Spanish professional Carlos Alcaraz Garfia has cleared the Mutua Madrid Open 2021 opening round, defeating Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 6-0. He is now looking forward to meeting his dream opponent, Rafael Nadal, on his 18th birthday on their home turf.

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Tennis – ATP 500 – Barcelona Open – Real Club de Tennis Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain – April 23, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his quarter final match against Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie REUTERS/Albert Gea

Without a doubt, the young Spanish teenager has shown great promise since the start of this year. Although his record is six wins and seven losses, he has improved his performance in every coming match.

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Now, Carlos has the ultimate challenge against him, the one he has idolized growing up. Here’s what he said about his upcoming match with the King of Clay.

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Carlos Alcaraz excited about meeting Rafael Nadal in the Madrid Open 2021

In Carlos’ post-match press conference, the interviewer asked him how he was feeling about playing against Rafael Nadal. Unlike most players, the young Spaniard remained confident and answered the question.

“I always wished to play against Rafa, learn from him. I don’t know how to describe this feeling now; it is a dream come true,” Carlos said.

Furthermore, he opened up on his plan against the top seed in the Madrid Open 2021. According to him, he will be carrying something more than a tennis racquet into the match, namely knowledge of Rafa’s game.

“I know a little of his game, and I will try to play my best, and let’s see what happens,” the Spanish teenager concluded.

Interestingly, Carlos’ coach Juan Carlos Ferrero has been a former opponent of the 20-time Grand Slam champion. Thus, his experience with Rafa Nadal will also play a part in the Round-of-32 match.

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What are Carlos’s chances of getting the better of Nadal?

After clinching his record-extending 12th Barcelona Open title, Rafa entered Madrid as the top seed. He will also look forward to playing his compatriot, Carlos Alcaraz.

Tennis – ATP 500 – Barcelona Open – Real Club de Tennis Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain – April 25, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates with the trophy after winning the Barcelona Open against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas REUTERS/Albert Gea

Most significantly, the turf in Madrid has not been as beneficial to Rafa as other clay courts around the world. It has more altitude, and thus the surface allows a faster game rather r than allowing players much control. But it is only a minor worry for the veteran Spaniard, as he has won the tournament a record five times.

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Ardent tennis fans understand the quality that the match between Carlos and Rafa will produce. It could even become one of the most invigorating matchups of 2021.

Do you think Carlos Alcaraz Garfia will stand tall with his game against Spanish great Rafael Nadal?

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Purav Joshi

950 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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