Rafael Nadal competed in the Madrid Masters for the 18th consecutive time last May. The Spanish legend scored two resounding victories before falling to Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals. In the second round, Rafa dispatched his young compatriot Carlos Alcaraz 6-1 6-2, knocking down an 18-year-old teenager.
Carlos took a record from Rafa before their duel, becoming the youngest winner of a match at the Madrid Masters and beating his great compatriot. Nadal made his debut at the Madrid Open in 2003 at the age of 17, losing to Álex Corretja in three sets.
A year later, Nadal defeated Davide Sanguinetti in the first round, becoming the youngest player to win the Madrid Open. Seventeen years after Rafa, the super-talented Carlos Alcaraz went even further, celebrating his first win at the Caja Mágica at age 17 and stealing the age record from his idol before his first meeting.
Carlos began his campaign at the Madrid Masters with a dominant 6-4, 6-0 win over Adrian Mannarino in 71 minutes. The teenager was very good on serve, dropping ten points in eight service games and avoiding trouble to pressure the Frenchman.
Mannarino was a far cry from those numbers, losing more than half of his points off the serve and receiving four breaks to push the Spaniard over the top and the record. Carlos fired 24 winners and 17 unforced errors, holding the threads of the match in his hands and reducing the rival to just a couple of winners.
Corretja reflects on Rafa Nadal
In a recent conversation with Eurosport, Alex Corretja spoke about Rafael Nadal’s rib injury and how it could impact the rest of his season. Corretja feels the injury came out of the blue, just when the Spaniard was at the peak of his powers.
“This injury for Rafa was absolutely unexpected,” Corretja said. “Honestly, he was in perfect form, with confidence, winning matches. It really was a perfect start for the season, but sometimes it can happen that when you haven’t competed for a while you start to win many sets, many matches and that sometimes causes a new injury, as has been the case this time.”
Corretja hopes the Spaniard can make a speedy recovery and compete at Roland Garros. “The real shame is that the best part of the season was coming for him: the clay. Now he is going to have to recover, go back to training, and hopefully, he can play a tournament prior to Roland Garros because really the expectations, and the hopes that he will win again in Paris, are very high.
Hopefully he will arrive in shape because I sincerely believe that it is very important that Nadal is on the circuit,” he added.