When Rafael Nadal defeated Carlos Alcaraz on youngster’s birthday

Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz are ranked in the top-4 for the first time. The young Spaniard needed only a couple of years to become one of the world’s best players. Carlos has conquered two Masters 1000 titles this year, standing second in the ATP Race behind Rafa. Nadal and Alcaraz met for the first time in the 2021 Madrid Masters second round, battling in front of the home fans on Carlos’ 18th birthday! Alcaraz stole the record for the youngest player with a win in Madrid from Rafa. Still, the 20-time Major winner was not engaging in giving him more gifts during the match. Nadal earned a 6-1, 6-2 triumph in an hour and 17 minutes for a place in the third round.

Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz met for the first time in Madrid last year.

After the encounter, Nadal and Feliciano Lopez presented the birthday cake to the young gun, who was thrilled about playing against his idol for the first time. Rafa wished him a happy birthday and encouraged him to work even harder in the years to come. Nadal lost serve once and turned over 60% of the return points into five breaks that pushed him through. Carlos experienced an injury in the early stages and could not grab more games despite a solid effort. Working under Juan Carlos Ferrero, Alcaraz had made giant steps towards the top at such a young age, playing well and conquering Umag in July as the youngest winner on the Tour since 2008! 

“It was amazing to spend my birthday playing against Rafael Nadal in front of the home crowd here in Madrid. It would have been better if I could win, but I enjoyed it anyway. I have learned much from him, and this match will help me grow as a player. I have to learn how to manage big points and deal with rivals from the top. If I get a chance to play more matches against Rafa, I should grow up faster and develop my skills. I’m thrilled to spend my birthday like this. Rafa and I did not say anything before the match. When we finished, he wished me a happy birthday and encouraged me to continue working hard,” Carlos Alcaraz said.