"I don't want to imagine tennis without Rafael Nadal yet" - Carlos Alcaraz

Carlos Alcaraz (L) and Rafael Nadal (R)
Carlos Alcaraz (L) and Rafael Nadal (R)

With the prospect of Rafael Nadal's impending retirement casting a shadow over his potential final Madrid Open campaign, Carlos Alcaraz has opened up about his reluctance to imagine the tour without his compatriot.

Alcaraz made a strong start to his title defense at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Madrid, beating Alexander Shevchenko 6-2, 6-1. The Spaniard showed no signs of rust after his Monte-Carlo Masters withdrawal due to injury, striking 24 winners to Shevchenko's two in the one-hour and eight-minute encounter.

Nadal also delivered a commanding performance in his first-round clash, kicking off what's expected to be his final Madrid Open campaign with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Darwin Blanch.

In his post-match press conference, the World No. 3 was asked about how he envisioned the sport without Rafael Nadal. However, Alcaraz emphasized that he doesn't want to entertain the thought, adding that he, like every tennis fan, cannot imagine the tour without the 22-time Grand Slam champion.

"I don't want to imagine it (tennis without Rafael Nadal) yet. Like every fan of Rafa, of tennis, no one wants to imagine the circuit without Rafa. Personally speaking, I want to enjoy Rafa as much as possible, every time he enters the court, every time he can compete," Carlos Alcaraz said (via Punto de Break).

Carlos Alcaraz also asserted that Nadal's enduring competitive spirit is driving him to keep playing and highlighted his desire to simply enjoy the former World No. 1's remaining time on tour instead of dwelling on what might follow.

"I know that's what he wants and what excites him, to feel competitive and try to win. Every time he can do it, I'm going to be there to enjoy it. That's what we have to think about, not about the afterlife. but to live in the moment," he added.

Rafael Nadal 'excited' by Carlos Alcaraz's doubles partnership proposal for Paris Olympics 2024

Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz
Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz

Carlos Alcaraz has made no secret about his desire to form a dream doubles partnership with Rafael Nadal at the 2024 Paris Olympics. However, he recently admitted that he hadn't "dared" to approach the 22-time Grand Slam champion with his proposal, not wanting to be an imposition.

It turns out that Alcaraz had no reason to be worried, as Nadal disclosed that he's immensely excited at the prospect of teaming up with the World No. 3 for the global sporting event.

The 37-year-old even suggested partnering up at a tournament in the lead-up to the Olympics to build up their on-court chemistry.

"No, he doesn’t have to ask me anything. I think all things being well, we will play. It’s also hugely exciting for me. If I am not mistaken, I have heard it is from him too. So it would be amazing to play the odd tournament before the Olympics to prepare ourselves to get some rapport on the court," he said.
"I think if we are both fit enough, then why not. We could have the chance to form a great team and aspire to great things. It would be good for both of us. I think it would also be good for the Spanish team. So we will see how things progress," he added.

Rafael Nadal will continue his Madrid Open campaign against Alex de Minaur in the second round, in a rematch of their recent Barcelona Open encounter, which the Australian won 7-5, 6-1.

Carlos Alcaraz, meanwhile, will take on Thiago Seyboth Wild in the third round, following the Brazilian's 6-4, 6-4 win over Lorenzo Musetti.

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

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