All eyes in the Caja Mágica are on Spanish tennis’ young promise. Carlos Alcaraz’s meteoric rise since he celebrated his 18 th birthday playing in the Manolo Santana Stadium last year against Rafael Nadal has surprised everyone. After competing in the doubles with Marc López on Sunday, the champion of Rio, Miami and Barcelona will make his singles bow on Tuesday.
The Spaniard, who continues to set records for his precocity on tour, will play his opener at the 20 th anniversary edition of the Mutua Madrid Open against the Georgian player Nikoloz Basilashvili who beat the Italian Fabio Fognini in the first round by 7-5 & 6-4.
Alcaraz is competing in the doubles tournament with a Marc López who, at 39 years of age, has chosen the #MMOPEN to bring his career to an end. The duo formed by the No. 9 in singles and the Olympic doubles champion (2016) got their campaign off to a winning start against the pair formed by Polish player Lukasz Kubot and Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin (4-6, 7-6, 10-4).
“The doubles always helps you with these things because these kinds of courts are always complicated to play”, explained the champion of the 2015 Under-12 #MMOPEN. Alcaraz explained that it was the Catalonian player’s idea for them to join forces. “He texted me and said he was going to play his last tournament here in Madrid. He was real excited to play this doubles with me and as soon as the trainers, managers gave me the green light, I went for it. It’s always special to play with a person like him”, said the El Palmar-born player.
¡Qué gran día!
— #MMOPEN (@MutuaMadridOpen) May 2, 2022
Alcaraz has been one of the biggest attractions for the fans since his arrival in the Caja Mágica. Not only did he draw a huge crowd in the doubles on the Manolo Santana court, the Spanish Top-10 player has also spent plenty of his time signing autographs after training. “They have been cheering me on since my first day here. I have felt the love of the people, and I feel very fortunate to be able to have these kinds of moments because it’s not easy to play at home but I take that as motivation, as an extra boost, extra help”, he explained.
Alcaraz also spoke about his personal development over the last twelve months. “I think that as a player I have grown a lot, I am more mature, both as a player and as a person. Last year I came here to gain some experience against the best players in the world. Now I consider myself one of them”, he noted.
Last year, the man from Murcia celebrated his coming of age with a match against Rafael Nadal in Madrid. This week, he may be competing on his birthday once again. “I have a match on Tuesday. Hopefully, I’ll be able to play on my birthday on Thursday too. It’s a special day and hopefully I’ll be able to win this year”, he ended.