Spanish tennis has a new hero

Carlos Alcaraz’s victory in the Madrid Open was remarkable in more ways than one.

The fresh-faced teenager, who celebrated his 19th birthday earlier this month, took down three of tennis’ top-four players in Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev and Rafael Nadal, as he stormed to his fourth tournament win of the year.

Of course, his gruelling victory over top seed Djokovic in the semi-final was impressive, and his destruction of Zverev in the final arguably even more so, but his quarter-final win against childhood idol Nadal was momentous. 

Nadal, now 35, has been known as the king of the clay court for the majority of his career but Alcaraz’s devastating combination of powerful forehands and delicate drop shots proved too much for the world number 4. 

From there, as Nadal ceremonially passed the torch to Alcaraz, it seemed inevitable that the man from Murcia would go on to win his first Madrid Open in front of the home crowd. 

After edging past the usually unflappable Djokovic in an epic contest lasting over three and a half hours, he took just 62 minutes to seal the Championship against a tiring Zverev, who double-faulted in the final point to hand the youngster victory. 

The win sees Alcaraz soar up the world rankings to sixth position, and the world will undoubtedly be watching to see if he can cause another upset when Roland Garros begins later this month.

With Nadal having hinted at retirement earlier this year and Alcaraz impressing so much so early in his tennis career, it is surely only a matter of time before the apprentice leapfrogs the master. 

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