Carlos Alcaraz French Open 2021

Rafael Nadal congratulates compatriot Carlos Alcaraz on ‘always special’ maiden title

Rafael Nadal has praised teenage talent Carlos Alcaraz after the 18-year-old battled to the title in Umag over the weekend. 

Alcaraz came up against veteran pro Richard Gasquet for a shot at his first career trophy on the ATP Tour, dispatching the Frenchman 6-2, 6-2.

At 18 years and two months old, Alcaraz is almost exactly the same age as Nadal was when he claimed his first title at Sopot 2004, with Rafa pipping the teen by eight days in age.

“Congratulations Carlos!” the 20-time Slam champion posted to his Instagram story.

“The first title is always remembered in a special way. Onwards!”

Nadal congratulates Alcaraz

The youngster has been compared to Nadal through much of his early career.

The two even met on-court at the Madrid Masters earlier in 2021, with Nadal coming out the victor 6-1, 6-2, on the day Alcaraz turned 18 no less.

With the title, Alcaraz jumps to a career high ranking of world No. 55. At the same age, Nadal sat just inside the top 50 in the world, at No. 49.