The Caja Mágica will witness a clash of generations on Wednesday between the greatest Spaniard of all time and a young-gun who is vying to take the baton from him.
Carlos Alcaraz will challenge Rafael Nadal in the second round of the Mutua Madrid Open after opening with victory on Monday against Adrian Mannarino.
The Murcia native stormed through his first test at the ATP Masters 1000 in the Spanish capital, where he is competing on a wildcard from the organisation, dispatching the Frenchman in two sets (6-4, 6-0) and one hour and 11 minutes of play.
The 17-year-old was not intimidated by the Manolo Santana Stadium and he started each set with a break against the world No. 34. Alcaraz’s forehand dictated the tempo of the match, giving him XX winners.
Alcaraz was not unfamiliar with the clay of Madrid, where he was crowned 2015 champion of the Under-12 #MMOPEN and two years later he reached the final in the Under-16 competition, proving his consistency and competitiveness throughout his formative years.
— #MMOPEN (@MutuaMadridOpen) May 3, 2021
The player now coached by Juan Carlos Ferrer, winner of the 2003 Mutua Madrid Open, is the pick of the Spanish NextGen players. The El Palmar native is currently 8 th in the ATP Race to Milan, which brings together the best players under the age of 21 at the end of the year.
Alcaraz continues to break down barriers and is on the cusp of the world Top 100 thanks to his results over the last year. The three ATP Challenger titles in 2020 (Trieste, Barcelona and Alicante) came before a great start to this season. At the Australian Open he picked up his first win at a Grand Slam and in Marbella he produced a personal best on the professional tour by reaching the semi-finals.
Living the dream
Carlos Alcaraz admitted after the match that being able to play in the #MMOPEN is “a dream come true” and that every time he came to the Caja Mágica as a boy he was “desperate to pick up a racket and go down to the court and play, so playing against Rafa Nadal will be extra special”.
“Honestly, as soon as I got out on court, the nerves hit me, but staying true to my game, hitting it hard and enjoying myself helped me start the match”, said the ATP world No. 120. The player from the Murcia region ended that he is “working very hard to control the nerves better and to play aggressive in difficult moments in order to improve and grow”.