Spanish tennis fans turn back on Rafael Nadal as Carlos Alcaraz becomes new hero
Some Spanish tennis fans seemingly have a new hero after Carlos Alcaraz’s sensational Madrid Open triumph on Sunday. Alcaraz defeated Rafa Nadal as part of a phenomenal underdog run to secure a second Masters 1000 title in as many months.
The 19-year-old star defeated four seeded opponents in five victories on the way to glory in his homeland’s capital. After bettering Nikoloz Basilashvili, ninth seed Cameron Norrie and fourth seed Nadal, he navigated past world number one Novak Djokovic before beating second seed Alexander Zverev in the final.
Alcaraz’s road to the Madrid Open title was one of the most memorable in recent history, and his success will undoubtedly be the first of many in his promising career. And the young Spaniard has unsurprisingly won the hearts of local tennis fans, who came out in their thousands to support him.
During the final, the match broadcast showed a couple of fans in the crowd who had seemingly turned their backs on Nadal in favour of the next generation. A man was holding up a sign saying ‘Vamos Alcaraz’ with Nadal’s name crossed out above the teenage sensation’s.
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The overwhelming support for Alcaraz’s incredible exploits came as no surprise at all. The Madrid Open was his fourth tournament win of the season and the second Masters 1000 title of his career after also coming out on top at last month’s Miami showcase.
Alcaraz has been heavily tipped to dominate the sport once Djokovic and Nadal walk away. Nadal is 35 now but isn’t yet finished and will pursue a record-extending 22nd Grand Slam title at the French Open later this month.
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Nadal is eyeing a fifth triumph in six years at Roland Garros by reclaiming his title from Djokovic, who bettered the clay-court master on his way to winning the 2021 tournament. If he is successful in doing so, he would lift his 14th Grand Slam title in Paris and further cement his claim as the greatest tennis player of all time.
He will routinely receive heavy support throughout the tournament, but fans will likely flock in big numbers to catch a glimpse of Alcaraz in action too. He is set to rise to sixth in the ATP world rankings, two spots below Nadal, and has withdrawn from the Rome Masters to recover in preparation for the French Open.
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