Former world No. 1 Kim Clijsters says she is excited about the emergence of Carlos Alcaraz as the 19-year-old’s start to his career reminds her of the start Rafael Nadal had nearly 20 years ago. Just like Nadal, Alcaraz became a Masters champion and a top-10 at the age of 18.
Last week in Madrid, Alcaraz clinched his first win over his idol Nadal. Nadal won their first two meetings but Alcaraz won their third clash. After beating Nadal, Alcaraz also defeated world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Germany’s Alexander Zverev to win his first Madrid title.
“So exciting to see another Spanish teenager work his way up in our sport. Takes me back to 04/05 when Rafa started his journey. So happy for @juankiferri, congrats @alcarazcarlos03!” Clijsters tweeted.
So exciting to see another Spanish teenager work his way up in our sport.
Alcaraz beat his idol Nadal en route to winning Madrid
Last year, Alcaraz stood no chance when he met Nadal in the Madrid second round.
Two months ago at the Indian Wells Masters, Alcaraz competed well but fell short in three sets to Nadal. Alcaraz lost the first two meetings versus Nadal but in the third delivered his best tennis versus Nadal and clinched his first victory over the former world No.
1. “It means a lot to me,” Alcaraz said after beating Nadal. “All the hard work that I put in every day pays off today. To beat Rafa, to beat the best player in history on clay, it means a lot to me”. After losing to Alcaraz, Nadal said the 19-year-old deserved to win the match.
“Happy for Carlos. He was better in various aspects. I need to get better like I said previously. I accept that. I have two and a half weeks to get ready to have real options in Paris,” Nadal said. Both Alcaraz and Nadal are considered among top favorites for this year’s French Open title.