Carlos Alcaraz has expressed pride at playing on Lotus Court, one of the venues for the ongoing China Open, as it was the stadium where Rafael Nadal won an Olympic medal.
The 2008 Olympic Games were held in China, with the tennis matches taking place at the Olympic Green Tennis Center, also called the Beijing Olympic Green Tennis Court, which was renamed the National Tennis Center in 2009.
Nadal defeated the likes of Potito Starace, Lleyton Hewit, Igor Andreev, and Jurgen Melzer to reach the semifinals and set up a clash with Novak Djokovic. The Spaniard beat the Serbian 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 to reach the final, where he defeated Fernando Gonzalez 6-3, 7-6(2), 6-3 to take home the singles gold medal.
Alcaraz, who is competing at the ATP 500 event in China, spoke about how his liking for the Lotus Court increased due to his older compatriot's Olympic victory coming at the same venue.
"It was great. Honestly, it is an incredible track. I have felt great, I have not felt the difference, really. I would even say that I like it more, it has been great. Knowing that Rafa won his Olympic medal on this track makes it even more special for me, the truth is that I loved it," he said (via puntodebreak).
"As for the surface, I didn't feel any difference, the speed of the ball was obviously the same. I only felt the difference with respect to the stadium: the Diamond (Central) is more bigger than the Lotus, here you feel that people are closer to you, and that is something I like," Alcaraz added.
Carlos Alcaraz to lock horns with Jannik Sinner in China Open semifinals
Carlos Alcaraz defeated Casper Ruud 6-4, 6-2 to reach the semifinals of the 2023 China Open on Monday. In what will be his 12th semifinal of the season, the Spaniard is set to lock horns with Jannik Sinner.
Later the same day, Sinner registered a hard-fought 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 win over Grigor Dimitrov.
Sinner and Alcaraz met most recently in the semifinals of the Miami Open earlier this year, where the former rallied from a set down to win 6(4)-7, 6-4, 6-2. Overall, their head-to-head record is currently tied at 3-3.
Alcaraz is looking forward to his clash with the Italian and stated that the two have always given fans memorable clashes over the years and that was why everyone was rooting for them to lock horns in China.
"I think a match against Sinner is something that everyone wants to see. We have played great matches on big stages, every time we have faced each other we have shown a very high level of tennis. The level we show on the court is incredible, I think everyone enjoys our matches," he expressed.