Carlos Alcaraz says facing Rafael Nadal is a “birthday gift” and “a dream come true”


Carlos Alcaraz crushed Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 6-0 on Monday to set up a second-round clash against his idol Rafael Nadal at the 2021 Mutua Madrid Open.

Alcaraz will square off against Nadal on 5 May (Wednesday), which incidentally happens to be his 18th birthday. And during his post-match press conference, the teenager called his clash against Nadal a ‘birthday gift’.

“I don’t even know how to describe the feeling of facing him,” Carlos Alcaraz said. “I will never forget this birthday gift of facing Rafa.”

Carlos Alcaraz further revealed that facing Rafael Nadal is a ‘dream come true’ for him. However, he asserted that he will try his best to not let the occasion get the better of him.

“I will try not to give the importance of the game or with whom I am going to play and I will try to enjoy myself,” the teenager continued. “For me, playing with Nadal is going to be a dream come true.”

Carlos Alcaraz says he wanted to play against Rafael Nadal since he was a kid

Carlos Alcaraz spoke about his admiration towards Rafael Nadal
Carlos Alcaraz spoke about his admiration towards Rafael Nadal

Carlos Alcaraz became the youngest winner of a match in the 19-year history of the Mutua Madrid Open on Monday. To put the age gap between him and Rafael Nadal in perspective, the soon-to-be 35-year-old had already played seven tour-level matches by the time Alcaraz was born in 2003.

In other words, Alcaraz had plenty of chances to watch and idolize his countryman during his formative years. During the post-match interview, the teenager revealed that he had wanted to face Rafael Nadal right from his childhood days, before calling the upcoming encounter as a ‘really special match’.

“Since I was a kid, I wished to play against Rafa, and now I will be able to play here in the center court of La Caja Magica in Madrid,” Alcaraz continued. “For me, it’s a really special match.”

Carlos Alcaraz also spoke about his experience of playing on Court Manolo Santana for the first time in his career on Monday. He admitted that the occasion got the better of him initially, but that he eventually found himself at ease through some encouragement from the fans.

“This for me is new, playing on the center court of the Caja Mágica,” Alcaraz continued. “I have never played on such a big court. I entered a little nervous, but the public has encouraged me and helped me to climb up. I have done quite well, and I have been very comfortable on the court.”

Carlos Alcaraz also believes that playing in La Caja Magica is ‘super special’ since it is a tournament he has had a close association with right from his childhood days.

“Playing here is super special,” Alcaraz added. “It is a tournament that I have come to see since I was little, and now I was in front of all the people.”

Published 03 May 2021, 23:14 IST


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