Carlos Alcaraz “can beat anyone in the world” claims Rafa Nadal after Madrid loss
Grand Slam legend Rafael Nadal has claimed that Spanish starlet Carlos Alcaraz “can beat anyone in the world” following his loss to the teenager in the Madrid Open quarter-finals.
Throughout 2022 the tenacious teen has been in red hot form and consistently hitting new heights. Most recently he captured his fourth career title at the Barcelona Open and as a result broke into the top ten of the ATP rankings for the first time.
Before that, he also won record-breaking titles at the Rio Open and at the Miami Masters, where the 19-year-old became the youngest ever Miami Open champion and the third youngest Masters-level winner in history.
Now, Carlos Alcaraz has only added to his growing reputation as the man from Murcia claimed a first ever win over his childhood idol Rafael Nadal.
The teenager overcame a second set ankle injury to progress 6-2,1-6, 6-3 to become the youngest ever Madrid Masters semi-finalist as well as be the first teenager to ever beat the imperious ‘King of Clay’ on the red dirt.
Rafael Nadal too had a fantastic start to the year, in fact the best start to a year he has ever had.
The 35-year-old won a record 21st Grand Slam in January as he raced to a 20-0 unbeaten record before his loss and injury in the final of the Indian Wells Masters.
This week at the Madrid Masters marked Nadal’s return to the ATP circuit as he fell to only his second defeat of 2022 to the man from Murcia.
Speaking of the result and his return in Madrid, Nadal heaped praise on the teenager believing he is among the best in the world as he branded the defeat “an easy one to digest” due to the current level of performance shown by the young Spaniard.
The 13-time French Open champion told reporters in a recent interview, “The first thing is to congratulate him. First of all, happy for him, he has been better than me in various facets of the game and I need to improve these days.”
“It is accepted naturally and calmly, with the certainty that there is a path to follow and arrive with real options to generate opportunities. It is an easy defeat to digest, we knew what we were coming here for and we have to congratulate Carlos, he is playing well and I wish him the best for the rest of the tournament.”
Nadal also refused to make excuses relating to his on-going injuries for his exit in the Spanish capital stating that he is “fine”.
“I’m fine, I haven’t had any problems. I’m not going to talk about my foot today, it’s a day to accept defeat naturally. I have to improve my ability to react, speed, dynamism, read and may my legs be with me.”
In the semi-finals the world number seven will face world number one Novak Djokovic for the first time in his career.
When asked about the match up, Nadal argued that Alcaraz is more than capable of beating the Serb and reaching his second consecutive final.
“I haven’t seen Novak play this week. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, one of the best players in history is playing against a youngster at a very high level.”
“Carlos can win perfectly, I don’t see any reason why he can’t win. It’s true that he can’t have a slump like the one in the second set. He plays a lot with moods, when his adrenaline goes up he’s practically unstoppable. Then, of course, he makes mistakes because he plays with a lot of risk. I think he has the level to beat anyone in the world, without a doubt.”
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