Leylah Annie Fernandez revealed her first impression of Carlos Alcaraz was that she felt like she was watching a right-handed Rafael Nadal.
Fernandez, 19, got a chance to watch 18-year-old Alcaraz while the two were juniors.
It didn’t take long for Fernandez to notice the extraordinary talent Alcaraz possesses.
Alcaraz is one of the most talented and promising players on the ATP Tour and many believe he will become a multiple Grand Slam champion and future No. 1.
“I remember watching him in the juniors one tournament, and I’m just watching a right-handed Rafael Nadal, literally a right-handed Rafael Nadal. I was hoping we will be in the WTA & ATP Tour together, and obviously that’s been happening,” Fernandez recalled, per the WTA website.
Fernandez and Alcaraz enjoying strong runs at the US Open
Both Fernandez and Alcaraz have made their first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the US Open.
Fernandez wasn’t the only one to praise Alcaraz as Stefanos Tsitsipas did the same after suffering a shock loss to the Spaniard in the third round.
“He can be a contender for Grand Slam titles,” Tsitsipas said of Alcaraz. “He has the game to be there.
“[His] ball speed was incredible. I’ve never seen someone hit the ball so hard. [It] took time to adjust. [It] took time to kind of develop my game around his game style. It’s one of these matches and one of these feelings where you pick up [your level] at some point of the match, you feel like you’re in control, and it doesn’t really go your way at the end.
“It’s kind of bitter, especially after such an incredible fourth set by my side, dominating, being just so aggressive, not dwelling on the past. It was a great fourth set. I felt like he played the fifth one completely the way he played the first set basically, careless, going for every single shot. I have never seen someone play such a good fifth set, honestly.”