Alcaraz inspired by Nadal with pair on course to meet at Madrid Open

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Carlos Alcaraz has learned never to give up after facing Rafael Nadal, with the pair on a collision course to meet again in next week's Madrid Open quarter-finals.

Alcaraz has enjoyed a hugely impressive season to date, having last week added the Barcelona Open to the titles won in Rio de Janeiro and Miami already in 2022.

Following on from that triumph in Catalonia, Alcaraz – who turns 19 next week – became the youngest male player to break into the top 10 since Nadal 17 years ago.

He boasts a record of 23-3 this year, one of those defeats coming at the hands of Spanish great Nadal in the semi-finals of Indian Wells in March.

That encounter lasted over three hours, with Nadal digging deep in California to prevail 6-4 4-6 6-3, only to lose in the final to Taylor Fritz.

Nadal was clearly troubled by injury during his defeat to Fritz and has subsequently taken a break to recover from a rib problem.

The pair are set to collide once again in Madrid next week should they both come through their second and third-round matches.

Speaking ahead of the draw being made on Friday, Alcaraz revealed he has taken inspiration from facing Nadal, who won a record 21st Grand Slam at the 2022 Australian open.

"I learned about the fighting spirit, of never giving up," the teenager told Spanish talk show El Hormiguero.

"Many people will have also seen the Australian Open match, he was losing and came back almost miraculously.

"From that match against him [at Indian Wells] I get the fighting spirit, never give up and fight until the last ball."

Top seed Novak Djokovic is also in Alcaraz and Nadal's side of the Madrid Open draw, while Andy Murray and Dominic Thiem will meet in the pick of the first-round clashes.

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