Madrid: Spanish sensation Carlos Alcaraz, who turns 18 on Wednesday, earned a dream birthday by setting up a second-round meeting with compatriot and clay-court big Rafa Nadal at the Madrid Open.
“This is the best gift for my birthday,” Alcaraz told Tennis Channel. “To play Rafa here in Madrid in front of the Spanish audience, I will never forget that moment and I will learn from him.” In order to secure a meeting with his childhood idol, Alcaraz beat Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-4 6-0 for his first ATP Masters 1000 victory on Monday.
The result also made 120th-ranked Alcaraz the youngest winner of the match in Madrid – eclipsing 18-year-old Nadal’s record in 2004.
“I don’t know how to describe this feeling now,” Alcaraz added. “It’s a dream come true.” “They always say the 18th birthday is special, but it will be even more special to be 18 playing against one of the best tennis players ever, and the best for me.”
World number two Nadal, who received a first round pass, will pursue his sixth title in the Spanish capital after winning his 87th touring title in Barcelona last month.