Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, winner of compatriot Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals of the Madrid tournament on May 6, 2022 (AFP / OSCAR DEL POZO)
‘Nothing unreasonable’: A month and a half after a stress fracture in his rib for the recovery tournament, Rafael Nadal described Friday’s defeat to Carlos Alcaraz in the quarterfinals in Madrid as “easy to digest”. It’s Novak Djokovic’s turn to stand shoulder to shoulder with the phenomenon.
In his third face-to-face encounter with the newly-winning face of Spanish tennis, a year and a day after their first encounter, Nadal, already at Central Madrid, was unable to prepare due to a rib injury, losing 6 -2, 1-6. , 6-3. He’s far from making it a big deal.
“He was better than me in many aspects of the game, as I said I need to improve, nothing unreasonable,” he explains. I believe there is a path to follow in the next two and a half weeks. Trying to give me a real chance of success”, at Roland-Garros (May 22- 5 June).
Rafael Nadal was eliminated by compatriot Carlos Alcaraz in the quarterfinals of the Madrid tournament on May 6, 2022 (AFP / OSCAR DEL POZO)
“An easy defeat in this sense” completes “Rafa”.
It is worth noting that the physiognomy of the match changed abruptly in the second set as Alcaraz badly sprained his right ankle upon changing direction at the end of match three. She swallowed a pill and then put on a bandage, she was no longer the same actress.
– “What happened ?” –
Backed support, borrowed moves, Juan-Carlos Ferrero’s protege no longer seemed to show the same determination in his strikes and also suffered from the right side.
Spaniards Rafael Nadal (l) and Carlos Alcaraz after their quarterfinals in Madrid on 6 May 2022 (AFP / OSCAR DEL POZO)
When the game restarted, “Carlitos” dropped his white serve, then his next three serves. In total, he lost fourteen of the sixteen points played until the end of the set.
His spirits – and his striking power – found himself in the decisive round, after he walked through the locker room, regaining the upper hand over Nadal of the day, who had been fighting for over three hours and had lost four match points the day before. Against David Goffin.
At the end of the Alcaraz match, King of Spain VI. “What happened?” he wrote.
What is Nadal’s assessment of the recovery tournament as Roland-Garros approaches?
“It wasn’t a disaster at all,” he sums up the Mallorcan with a record 21 Grand Slam trophies.
“I played three games because I came here unprepared. I said it would be a complicated week. Even so, I lost against one of the (current) best players, I even had a chance,” he appreciates.
His way to Paris now passes through Rome.
– Nadal has only one dream –
“My only dream is to be fit and physically fit enough to compete at the highest level in Paris. If that happens, why don’t you give me another chance?”
For Alcaraz, after the mustard king, the world that awaits him on Saturday is N.1.
Since restarting the machine in April with the circuit’s return to Europe, Djokovic has been looking for rhythm at or near a standstill after the first quarter, as evidenced by his expulsion from Australia for no Covid vaccine.
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic against Pole Hubert Hurkacz in the quarterfinals of the Madrid tournament, 6 May 2022 (AFP / OSCAR DEL POZO)
He’s gaining momentum on the ground in Madrid: he just won two straight sets. Following Gaël Monfils (6-3, 6-2 loss on Tuesday), 81 minutes into Pole Hubert Hurkacz (14th) 6-3, 6-4 without forcibly dominated.
In his first two tournaments, the Serb fell at the head of Monte-Carlo (against Davidovich) and sank in the final set of the final in Belgrade, losing 6-0 to world No.8 Andrey Rublev.
At the beginning of April in Miami – his first trophy at the Masters 1000 – and a dozen days ago in Barcelona, Alcaraz comes with great dynamics. One question remains: What will happen to the ankle?
“It’s okay for now,” he assured at a press conference. I will do everything possible to recover and be at 200% tomorrow (Saturday).”
By the way, it is perhaps Nadal who best sums up world tennis with the Alcaraz phenomenon: “It’s going to bother me for the time remaining to play, and then I’ll enjoy it as a spectator.”