Carlos Alcaraz will never forget his 18th birthday. The young Murcia native said his goodbyes to the Mutua Madrid Open today, the day when he became a man and played in a clash of generations against five-time #MMOPEN champion Rafa Nadal.
“No te la comas toda” ??
— #MMOPEN (@MutuaMadridOpen) May 5, 2021
Alcaraz’s reaction after his encounter with Nadal
On the match: “I think I could have done better. But at the end of the day it’s Rafa. Playing against him is not easy the first time, or when you’ve done it five times. But playing against Rafa is super special, as is being able to learn from him on court”.
“I think next time will be completely different. I’ll know more or less how to play, how to come out on court. I think this time wanting to finish the points off quickly got the better of me and there was a moment that I didn’t know Rafa was opposite me and that he would keep hitting it back, ball after ball”.
“It was an unforgettable experience that I will always have with me”.
Calling the physio was nothing more than a scare. “That slight twinge was in the moment and then I was fine. I was facing an in-form Rafa. He didn’t allow me to play great tennis, I was being dictated to the whole time. It’s never easy facing Rafa and you have to know how to handle those types of players”.
Nadal’s praise will provide extra motivation. “It means a lot to me. When people above you praise you like that, saying that you’re doing things well… it means so much. Rafa has been my idol since I was very small and I try to follow in his footsteps. Rafa has never behaved badly on court, he has never complained, and in the end those kinds of things also affect you on court. I try to follow in his footsteps and I think I’m doing things right. If I continue in that way, I will be on the right path”.