Alcaraz's win against Nadal in Madrid mirrors Nadal's win against Alcaraz's coach 17 years ago

Today, Juan Carlos Ferrero, the man who Nadal beat 17 years ago to begin his rise in tennis, is Carlos Alcaraz's coach.

Carlos Alcaraz (left) with Rafael Nadal. (Image: Twitter)

On Friday, Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz took a big step towards becoming one of the most sought after names in tennis when he beat his idol, compatriot, and one of the greatest to ever play the sport in Rafael Nadal in the quarter-final of the 2022 Madrid Open. With a score of 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 and after two and a half hours of incredible tennis action, Alcaraz booked his place in the semi-final of the Madrid Open where he will go up against world no. 1 Novak Djokovic. Many saw the match as a symbolic gesture of the transfer of power in Spanish tennis. Nadal, who has been in the game for a couple of decades, is in the twilight years of his career. Alcaraz’s career in professional tennis might have only just begun but he has already made leaps and bounds to become someone whose matches fans look forward to.

Rafa vs Ferrero, 17 years ago

The last time such a shift in power in Spanish tennis occurred, Rafa was the youngster and a certain Juan Carlos Ferrero was the man to beat. Right before Nadal’s meteoric rise to the top of the tennis pyramid as one of the greatest of all time began, Ferrero was the Spain’s top tennis player. He was ranked first in 2003, the year in which he won the French Open. Only a couple of years later, Nadal and Ferrero found themselves in the final of an ATP competition in Spain that was played on clay. The 2005 Toreno Godo in Barcelona saw an intense final between the country’s rising star and its already established legend at the time.

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A win for Nadal would mean a fifth career trophy and a fourth of that year in ATP competitions. Ferrero might have been the more seasoned player at that point but much like Nadal’s match with Alcaraz on Friday, not many gave the seasoned veteran a high chance of victory. The young gun, on both occasions, was having his best season so far and playing like a champion. Nadal won that match against Ferrero by a score-line of 6-1, 7-6, 6-3 in what was an absolute belter of a contest.

Oh, the similarities!

Carlos Alcaraz has won four ATP competitions so far and winning the 2022 Madrid Open, on clay in his home country, would make it five. However, these numbers and situation are not the only thing tying the two matches together. Today, Juan Carlos Ferrero, the man who Nadal beat 17 years ago to begin his rise in tennis, is Carlos Alcaraz’s coach.

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What Nadal said after losing to Alcaraz

“He was better than me in several aspects of the match and several aspects of the game, and I need to improve,” Nadal said after his loss to Alcaraz, something Ferrero may have echoed back in 2005. “I just accept it naturally with calm and with security that there is a path to continue. It’s an easy loss to digest in that regard, because we knew what we could expect here, and now because of that, I don’t take away any merit from Carlos. Congratulations to him. He’s playing great, and I hope the best for him for the rest of the tournament.”

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