Rafael Nadal posts classy message to Carlos Alcaraz after teenager wins Madrid Open title

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SPANISH tennis legend Rafael Nadal sent compatriot Carlos Alcaraz a heartfelt message after the youngster beat Alexander Zverev in the Madrid Open final.

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As someone with intimate knowledge of what it means to lift the Madrid Open crown, Rafael Nadal was among the first to congratulate Carlos Alcaraz on Sunday’s triumph. The rising star made light work of Alexander Zverez and waltzed to a 6-3, 6-1 victory in front of a home crowd

Having bested Nadal in the quarter-finals before easing past Novak Djokovic in the semis, it almost seemed fated that Alcaraz would win his home contest. And five-time winner Nadal paid tribute to his young countryman following his fourth ATP Tour title so far in 2022.

The 21-time Grand Slam champion posted a picture of Alcaraz lifting his latest trophy on Instagram, alongside the caption (translated from Spanish): “Congratulations Charles!!!!! What a great tournament. Big win!”

Alcaraz, 19, has now defeated the last seven top-10 opponents he’s faced and is coming into his own as the clay season progresses. His Madrid Open journey also made him the first player to beat both Nadal and Djokovic in the same clay competition.

It serves as supreme preparation ahead of the 2022 French Open, which gets underway later this month. He’s following in the footsteps of record 13-time winner Nadal and looking increasingly ready to pick up his elder’s mantle when he eventually retires.

Zverev was also quick to praise his opponent following the result and dubbed his foe “the best player in the world” right now. “It is great for tennis that we have such a new superstar that is going to win so many grand slams, that is going to be world number one and I think is going to win this tournament many more times,” added the German.

the tennis community at large will be keeping one eye on the evolution of Alcaraz, who is fast becoming a top contender despite his young age. The teenager was ranked 120th in the world this time last year but will rise to sixth when the ATP standings are updated Monday.

Nadal, 35, will be paying special attention to the prospect’s development, particularly as he seeks to collect a record-extending 14th title at Roland Garros. The veteran won’t be contemplating defeat in Paris, but there’s one player on the circuit he may like to see succeed just as much as himself.

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