On Wednesday, two generations of Spanish tennis will battle in one of the countries biggest tennis courts, the Manola Santana Stadium at the Caja Magica.
34 year old Rafael Nadal will be up against the birthday boy, Carlos Alcaraz who turns 18 on Wednesday, the day of his meeting with his idol Rafael Nadal.
It is set to be a fascinating battle, when Carlos was born, Nadal was playing a challenger in France before going onto play his second Masters 1000 on clay in Hamburg (the home of the clay court tournament before it moved to Madrid).
That week it was Nadal’s second Masters 1000 and he beat his now coach, Carlos Moya in the second round. At the same time, one player who wasn’t there was Carlos’ coach former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero.
After winning in Monte-Carlo and Valencia and sandwiched between that a semi-final appearance in Barcelona he had a week off. Ferrero came back, retired in the semi-finals of Rome against Federer but then went onto win Roland Garros, his only Grand Slam title.
Since then we have seen Rafael Nadal win 13 of them and who knows, we could see Carlos Alcaraz debut in Paris this year and in the future add his name to the honours list.
This meeting in Madrid on Wednesday is going to be fascinating to watch two generational talents up against each other, at home in front of a home crowd, it will be a special moment.
Nadal will be playing his 60th match in Madrid looking for his 51st win fresh off his 12th title in Barcelona and sealing an 18th consecutive year winning a title.
Carlos’ game was on another level to Mannarino’s, the Spaniard didn’t give the Frenchman any opportunities and reeled off seven games in a row hitting 20 more winners that his opponent in a stunning debut performance.
Obviously the teenager is excited for the match, he called it a “dream come true” to play his idol Rafael Nadal at home in Madrid but won’t let it get to him:
“I will try not to give him the importance of the match and be as relaxed as possible. It will be a dream come true. I have always wanted to measure myself against him”
Alcaraz has been impressive during these early stages of his career, at the beginning of last year he became the third youngest player to win three ATP Challenger titles, the youngest in history? Nadal…
Carlos has been playing more tour matches this year, he won his first round match at the Australian Open, debuted in Miami, semi-finalist in Andalucia and recent wildcards in Barcelona and Estoril.