Rafael Nadal sends message to Carlos Alcaraz after Spanish sensation wins Barcelona Open

Djokovic ‘cleared out of the way’ for Nadal says host

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Rafael Nadal sent a message of congratulations to perhaps the heir to his Spanish tennis throne after Carlos Alcaraz made light work of the Barcelona Open final. The youngster was dominant despite playing a taxing semi-final earlier on the same day, and in scooping up his third title of the year, he reached an exciting new milestone. 

Born in 2003, teenage Alcaraz has enjoyed a remarkable 2022 and crowned off a superb start to the year with the Barcelona Open title on Sunday. Compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta, 12 years Alacaraz’s senior, was seen off 6-3 6-2 without enjoying so much as a break point opportunity. 

The youngster’s triumph looks even more impressive considering he played a mammoth semi-final earlier in the day, having taken almost four hours to squeeze past Australian Alex de Minaur. A nap between the clashes was supposedly enough to see Alcaraz gear up for the final. 

With the resounding victory, the 18-year-old broke into the world’s top 10 for the first time. Comparisons to Nadal are growing louder and louder, and the 21-time Grand Slam winner was quick to pass on a message of congratulations. 

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“Congratulations to Carlos for the title in Barcelona,” he said on social media, “Also Pablo for the final. A spectacular week for both and for Spanish tennis that once again has a winner.”

Indeed, Alcaraz and Nadal entered the world’s top 10 at the same age, the latter reaching his milestone in identical fashion by winning the Barcelona Open almost two decades ago. Big things are expected of the youngster, and those expectations certainly won’t die down after the convincing nature of his latest straight-sets win. 

“The competitive and winning gene that I have comes from my family,” he said on Sunday, “They have always insisted on it and I think that you always have to go for it. I always think of giving everything and that is what I have done today.

“I don’t have any limits, I don’t want to set any. I want to continue playing at the level I have and I think that if I continue like this I have many options to continue climbing. I want to continue enjoying myself on the court, I still don’t want to touch the ceiling.

“I’ve always been a normal boy. Fame doesn’t scare me, I’m going to continue being the same as always, I’m not going to change the person I am. I’m glad to know that at 18 I’m in the top 10, and to do it on the same date that my idol Rafa did it is impressive.”

The compatriots have met twice before, with Nadal emerging victorious on both occasions. The most recent showdown was at Indian Wells last month, when the experienced 35-year-old won in three sets before being beaten in the final by Taylor Fritz. 

Nadal struggled through that final with a rib injury that has consigned him to the sidelines ever since. A return is expected at the Madrid Masters which begins this week, before a familiar campaign to clinch another French Open crown. 

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