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Nadal Alcaraz Madrid 2021

“Explosive” Carlos Alcaraz compared to Rafael Nadal by Slam legend

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A seven-time major champion has drawn a comparison between US Open sensation Carlos Alcaraz and his idol Rafael Nadal at the same age.

Former world number one Mats Wilander spoke of Alcaraz’s “explosive arm” on the forehand side being “like Nadal when he was 18”.

The Swede also identified an area of the 18-year-old’s game he feels must be improved, saying it is “the only worry” he has about the Spaniard.

World number 55 Alcaraz reached the fourth round of the 2021 US Open by stunning third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in a five-set epic on Friday.

Alcaraz lost to 20-time Grand Slam winner Nadal in the second round of the Madrid Masters in May.

“Well first of all, technically – I’ve got to mention the forehand. His arm at 18 years old is so explosive, it’s like Rafa Nadal when he was 18 years old – the same strength,” Wilander told Eurosport.

“But then the two-handed backhand is unbelievably solid, he can stay cross court all day. And then he’s smart, because he went down the line with the backhand at times.

“And then, he’s got good hands – he threw in drop shots which put Tsitsipas completely off. The only worry I have is his serve. I know at 18 we shouldn’t look into the serve too much.

“But technically, I would like to see it a little bit smoother. And I think he needs to work on the serve, I’m sure he will. And I think he has the dream of being number one in the world. Well I’m telling you, this kid – yes, and it is very possible.”

Alcaraz will play world number 141 Peter Gojowczyk in the last 16 in New York on Sunday.

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Nadal Alcaraz Madrid 2021
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