PHOTOS: Rafael spoils birthday boy Carlos Alcaraz’s party

(AP) – Five-time champion Rafael Nadal cruised into the third round of the Madrid Open with a comfortable 6-1, 6-2 win over Carlos Alcaraz on Wednesday. He awaits the winner of Australian qualifier Alexei Popyrin and 14th seed Jannik Sinner.

Rafa was never threatened by Alcaraz, who turned 18 on Wednesday.

The 120th-ranked Alcaraz was coming off his first victory at a Masters 1000 event and had called the match against his idol a “dream come true.” He has been touted by many as the successor to the 34-year-old Rafa.

After the crowd at the “Magic Box” center court sang “Happy Birthday” to him, Alcaraz squandered a break point in the first game and then struggled to keep up with the 20-time Grand Slam champion. The wild-card entry was marred by unforced errors, earning his lone break toward the end of the second set.

Alcaraz needed medical attention in the third game after losing a long rally, apparently hurting his arm or shoulder while going for an overhead smash.

“It was a difficult match against a youngster who has been playing very well and who has an enormous potential ahead of him,” Rafa said on Wednesday. “All he needs is some time. In addition to being a great tennis player, he also has great values, which is something society needs right now.”

“Today was a match against Carlos, who has enormous potential and only needs a little time. He is a great tennis player and has clear things and a very good values, which is something that this society needs.”

Source: AP


  1. In think that Carlos enjoyed his birthday despite losing. He played against his role model and got a great reaction from the crowd, a typical Madrid audience who love tennis.
    Rafa looks really confident and strong and his respect for Carlos was great. Carlos hurt his abs reaching for an overhead and Rafa showed his concern by advising him to call the trainer.
    Lovely photographs with Feliciano, Rafa and Carlos. His birthday was special.
    Now for a big Australian, Popyrin. 🇪🇸🌟👏

  2. Well do Rafa and good luck for the next tomorrow vamosssssss champ you can do it all the love from your fans since 2005 💪💪💪😘😘😘🎾❤️

  3. Good lessons and tennis today. Tomorrow the same resolve to stay steady, play thoughtfully, and play strong for days to come!!! You did it just right today for the birthday. Nice. Carlos has learned well from you. Vamos, man.

  4. Rafa played dominant tennis as we expect and appreciate . His entire game was on all cylandersv.
    Love this effort ! Vamos Rafa . I like his ,improved chances got a title ! …..Thiem looked good also .

  5. this guy who has beaten sinner played very wel good groundstrokes and serve its going to be difficult

  6. Plain sailing for Rafa, The Master. His student, Carlos got handed a good tennis lesson for his birthday. The youngster’s got a bright future.

  7. Most likely Carlos will have found it easier to accept losing to his idol than to any other player. This birthday will be etched in his memory forever.

    Rafa says he has good values which he will hopefully keep as his career progresses.

  8. Carlos’s dream was to play Rafa and that’s exactly what he got to do. He will never forget his 18th birthday because his dream came true. Today was a win for Rafa and a win for Carlos.

  9. Happy Birthday to Carlos.
    Well done Rafa. Keep it up and all the best for tomorrow.

  10. HaHap born dsy to the young boy Carlos, Rafa did not spoils ur day, he is growing u up, vavavav my champ, Carlos knew that u r the king of tennis, vavas to the mos

    • Wow! Popyrin came through in straight sets. I expected Sinner to win and so did Rafa according to what he said in his on court interview.

  11. Good luck to Rafa vs Alexei Popyrin next.🍀💪❤️
    Happy 18th birthday to Carlos.🎂

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