APRIL 21 - MAY 4, 2025

Alcaraz bolsters his fighting spirit with Topuria

Carlos Alcaraz’s frightening power is a sight to behold in the Caja Mágica. However, on Tuesday at the Mutua Madrid Open, he had to employ it against a very different opponent. The Spaniard had a face-to-face meeting with Ilia Topuria, the UFC featherweight champion, changing the clay courts for the octagon, and in doing so providing one of the most entertaining moments of the week so far in the Spanish capital.

The world No. 3 was given a masterclass by the Georgian-Spanish fighter. The pair went through a repertoire of moves from the sport. He learnt all about submissions and various locks from mixed martial arts, one of the fastest growing sports in recent years in Spain. It was completely new ground for Alcaraz. The current Wimbledon champion enjoyed the experience, laughing as he grappled with the Georgian-Spanish fighter, with whom he also enjoyed a private conversation in the Manolo Santana Stadium.

Two of the most revered athletes in Spain exchanged knowledge on their respective disciplines, freely giving one another advice. Ilia immobilised Carlos to demonstrate the secrets of the body lock, one of the most iconic moves in UFC, where the fighter attacks their adversary with a blood choke. After escaping from the hold, Alcaraz assumed the attack and engaged in a friendly tussle with Topuria on the clay.

The day before the men’s main draw kicks off in the Caja Mágica, Topuria also had a chance to meet Rafael Nadal in person. The Mallorcan was one of many people to post a message for the fighter on social media after he won the world title.

On 18 February, Topuria made history by winning the mixed martial arts featherweight belt, defeating the Australian Alexander Volkanovski in the Honda Center, Anaheim (California).

Inspired by Topuria’s exploits, the Spaniard will now try to call upon his fighting spirit as he returns to competition on the ATP Tour. Alcaraz will play his opener at the Mutua Madrid Open against either France’s Arthur Rinderknech or the Kazakh Alexander Shevchenko.