"Carlos can win perfectly. I don't see any reason why he cannot win," Rafael Nadal said of Carlos Alcaraz's hopes vs. world No. 1.
By Richard Pagliaro | Friday, May 6, 2022
An adrenalized Carlos Alcaraz is practically invincible, says Grand Slam king Rafael Nadal.
A fired-up Alcaraz broke Nadal three times in the first set, suffered a fall to the court and a five-game slide in the second then recharged toppling Nadal 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 to reach his maiden Madrid semifinal.
More: Alcaraz Knocks Nadal Out
In a battle of the ages, the 19-year-old Alcaraz made history as the first teenager to defeat the king of clay on dirt.
The 21-time Grand Slam champion said when Alcaraz is firing on adrenaline fuel he's "unstoppable." Nadal asserts if Alcaraz can ride the adrenaline and minimize sloppy stretches of play he can upset world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in tomorrow's semifinals.
"Carlos can win perfectly. I don't see any reason why he cannot win," Nadal told the media in Madrid. "It's true that he cannot have the downside that he had on the second set, talking about today's match, but, well, it's true that Carlos plays a lot with adrenaline, with momentum. When adrenaline goes up, he's practically unstoppable, but then in some moments he commits errors, but it's logical because he plays with a lot of risk.
"It's his way of playing, and in that sense I think he has the level to be able to win anyone of the world. But what can happen tomorrow, we will see what happens."
World No. 1 Djokovic, who reportedly beat Alcaraz in a practice set earlier this week, praised the teenager's game and rise.
"Well, there is a lot of things that are special about him," Djokovic said of Alcaraz. "I mean, he has broken a lot of records as the youngest player, top 10, obviously in the recent decades, because we had some amazing champions like Michael Chang when he was 16, you know, won a slam and so forth.
"But, you know, nowadays we are not used to seeing somebody who is teenager and already getting to top 10 and playing on such a high level. His growth, his improvement, and his journey particularly the last six months has been amazing."
Photo credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty