5 interesting similarities between Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz
Tennis fans have long waited to see who the next Rafael Nadal will be, and as it turns out, it might be someone from his own country after all. Spanish teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz has taken the world by storm over the last few weeks, reaching the semifinals of two Masters 1000 tournaments on the trot.
While he could only be quelled at Indian Wells by the 21-time Grand Slam champion himself, he has been unstoppable in Miami so far and has a shot at the title on Sunday. The World No. 16 has already taken care of defending champion Hubert Hurkacz and will take on Casper Ruud in the summit clash.
Other than the obvious similarities that both are from Spain, there are also a few more interesting comparisons that can be made between the pair that stem from their success on the tennis court. Without further ado, here's a look at five of them:
#1 Carlos Alcaraz is the youngest player to represent Spain at the Davis Cup since Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal made his debut for Spain at the Davis Cup in 2004 at the age of 17 years and 248 days. Unfortunately, the World No. 3 ended up losing his first tie against the Czech Republic's Jiri Novak.
Meanwhile, Carlos Alcaraz made his debut at the team tournament this year at the age of 18 years and 303 days, making him the youngest to play for Spain since the 21-time Grand Slam champion.The 18-year-old defeated Romania's Marius Copil to hand his team an unassailable lead in the fixture.
Alcaraz was expected to make his debut at the tournament last year, but was prevented from doing so due to a COVID-19 infection.
#2 Carlos Alcaraz is the youngest match-winner at the Madrid Masters, breaking Rafael Nadal's record
Carlos Alcaraz made his Madrid Masters debut in the 2021 edition with the help of a wildcard and faced off against Adrian Mannarino in the first round. The World No. 16 went on to win the match 6-4, 6-0, making him the youngest match-winner in the history of the tournament.
The previous record was held by Rafael Nadal, who defeated Davide Sanguinetti in the first round of the 2004 edition. Interestingly, both players went on to lose their second-round matches. While the former World No. 1 fell to Vincent Spadea, Alcaraz succumbed to a straight-sets loss against Nadal himself.
#3 Carlos Alcaraz is the youngest Spaniard to win an ATP tour title since Rafael Nadal
Carlos Alcaraz's first ATP tour title came at the age of 18 years, two months and 14 days at the 2021 Croatia Open Umag, where he defeated three players seeded higher than him en route.
After besting third seed Filip Krajinovic in the quarterfinals, the teenager dwarfed top seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the semifinals and Richard Gasquet in the final to lift his first piece of silverware on the main circuit.
In the process, he became the youngest player to win an ATP tour title since Kei Nishikori (2008 Delray Beach Open) as well as the youngest Spaniard to achieve the feat since Nadal in 2004. The Mallorcan's accomplishment came at the Idea Prokom Open in Warsaw, where he won the title without dropping a set at the age of 18 years, two months and six days.
#4 Carlos Alcaraz is the youngest player to reach the semifinals of the Sunshine Double, overtaking Rafael Nadal in the process
Thanks to his exploits over the past few weeks, Carlos Alcaraz became the youngest player to reach the semifinals (18 years and 10 months) at Indian Wells and Miami, collectively known as the Sunshine Double.
By reaching the final in Miami, the World No. 16 also became the youngest player to accomplish the feat since Nadal.
#5 Carlos Alcaraz brought up his 5th win against a top-10 player around the same age as Rafael Nadal
Carlos Alcaraz defeated World No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the fourth round in Miami, which marked his fifth win against top-10 opposition. He had beaten Tsitsipas once before, Matteo Berrettini twice and Jannik Sinner.
At the age of 18 years, 10 months and 24 days, the Spaniard was only 12 days older than Nadal when he accomplished the feat. The 21-time Grand Slam champion's wins came against Albert Costa, Carlos Moya, Roger Federer, Andy Roddick and Gaston Gaudio.