Nadal believes Alcaraz can become one of world's best

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Rafael Nadal has said that Carlos Alcaraz can become one of the best players in the world, ahead of a potential meeting between the two Spaniards at the Madrid Open.

Alcaraz has enjoyed an impressive season to date, having recently 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 on Thursday – became the youngest male player to break into the top 10 since Nadal 17 years ago.

However, one of his three defeats in 2022 came at the hands of Nadal in the semi-finals of Indian Wells in March, with the contest lasting over three hours.

Nadal eventually secured the win in California, 6-4 4-6 6-3, before losing the final to Taylor Fritz.

Alcaraz and Nadal are set to collide once again in Madrid should they both come through their second and third-round matches.

Speaking to Eurosport, Nadal lavished praise on his fellow Spaniard, outlining his belief that Alcaraz can have a very successful career, drawing comparisons with his own illustrious career.

"As everybody knows it's amazing," Nadal said. "He's a big candidate to win a lot of grand slams and become the number one player in the world.

"What he is doing is fantastic so well done for him and I wish him all the very best. He is doing a lot of things similar to me. He is young, he has the passion and the energy. He has every single thing to become a huge star.

"I'm like a Spanish spectator, personally I'm happy to have someone like him to stay on the tour for a long time and achieve a lot of things."

Nadal also gave an update on his own fitness, with his participation in Madrid following a hip injury part of his preparation to try and be ready for the upcoming French Open.

"I'm feeling good in terms of the hip," he said. "That's recovered so now is the time to try to recover the tennis and physical performance. That takes some time so I am here to try to be better and better every day.

"I have been out for more than a month and a half. The amount of practices I've had are just a few, and in this case, I need to be humble enough and accept that it's a process that I need to go through.

"Of course, the big goal now is to try and be ready for the French Open in three weeks."

Alcaraz last week revealed he has taken inspiration from facing Nadal, saying to Spanish talk show El Hormiguero: "I learned about the fighting spirit, of never giving up.

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

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