Rafael Nadal (1) meets Carlos Alcaraz (WC) in the second round of the 2021 Madrid Open on Wednesday, May 5th 2021.
Will Carlos Alcaraz shock everyone by beating his idol and beating him on his favourite surface, or will Rafael Nadal continue to raise his level as we saw him do every day a couple weeks ago in Barcelona?
Carlos Alcaraz was able to oust a very experienced player in Adrian Mannarino in the first round, beating him in straight sets 6-4/6-0. I am very sure that the knowledge that he would be able to play his idol, Rafael Nadal, in the next round if he won gave him that extra motivation as he would not want to miss out on such a big chance to step on the big stage. Carlos is a talent for the future and he will continue to rise up the rankings over the year, and I am sure he will be in the Top 20 by the end of 2022.
Rafael Nadal will know that he will still need to improve his game on clay as although he won the title in Barcelona a couple weeks ago, he still is not at his best. Rafa, however, knows exactly what to do, and he will come out here ready to give it his all as he looks to equal Djokovic in the Masters 1000 record, and get his game up to speed to ensure he is ready for Roland Garros at the end of the month.
This is going to be the first meeting between both players, and although this is going to be a dream come true for Carlos Alcaraz, he will not be able to hang in the match with his idol I believe. It is very hard to maintain your composure against these big players, especially when you have idolised someone so much like Alcaraz has done with Rafa. I don’t think Rafa will want to hurt the youngsters confidence by beating him 6-0/6-0, but he will still want to win this match in straight sets, giving the youngster some games to keep his momentum going.