Nadal thinks Alcaraz can become one of the best in the world
Rafael Nadal says Carlos Alcaraz can become one of the best players in the world, ahead of a possible meeting between the two Spaniards at the Madrid Open.
Alcaraz has had an impressive season so far, having recently added the Barcelona Open to titles won in Rio de Janeiro and Miami already in 2022.
After that triumph in Catalonia, Alcaraz – who turns 19 on Thursday – became the youngest male player to break into the top 10 since Nadal 17 years ago.
However, one of his three defeats in 2022 came at the hands of Nadal in the Indian Wells semi-finals in March, with the competition lasting over three hours.
Nadal eventually won in California, 6-4 4-6 6-3, before losing the final to Taylor Fritz.
Alcaraz and Nadal are set to clash against Madrid again if they both succeed in their second and third round matches.
Speaking to Eurosport, Nadal praised his fellow Spaniard, underlining his belief that Alcaraz can have a very successful career, drawing comparisons to his own illustrious career.
“As everyone knows, it’s amazing,” Nadal said. “He’s a great candidate to win a lot of Grand Slams and become the number one player in the world.
“What he is doing is fantastic, so congratulations for him and I wish him all the best. He does a lot of similar things to me. He is young, he has the passion and the energy. He has everything to become a great star.
“I’m like a Spanish spectator, personally I’m happy to have someone like him to stay on the circuit for a long time and achieve a lot of things.”
Nadal also gave an update on his own fitness, with his appearance in Madrid following a hip injury as part of his preparation to try to be ready for the upcoming French Open.
“I feel good in the hip area,” he said. “It’s recovered, so it’s time to try to recover tennis and physical performance. It takes time, so I’m here to try to be better and better every day.
“I’ve been out for over a month and a half. The number of workouts I’ve had is only a few, and in this case I have to be quite humble and accept that it’s a process that I’ve had. I have to cross.
“Of course the big goal now is to try to be ready for Roland-Garros in three weeks.”
Alcaraz revealed last week that he was inspired to face Nadal, telling Spanish talk show El Hormiguero: “I learned the fighting spirit, to never give up.
“From this match against him [at Indian Wells] I have a fighting spirit, I never give up and I fight until the last ball.”