The tennis legend Billie Jean King recently termed young Spanish prodigy, Carlos Alcaraz as ‘future no.1’. She applauded the gruelling semi-final performance between the two Spaniards; world no.4, Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz.
Rafael Nadal had a brilliant start to the 2022 season. However, Taylor Fritz stopped Rafael Nadal’s 20-0 match winning streak as he claimed his first ATP Masters 1000 title at Indian Wells. He claimed victory to finish 6-3 7-6 (7-5) over Nadal while becoming the first American to win the tournament since Andre Agassi in 2001.
Rafael Nadal defeated Nick Kyrgios 7-6(0), 5-7, 6-4 to reach the semi-finals at Indian Wells. He extended his best start to the season to 19-0, third best season start since 1990.
Rafa and Carlos met in the semi-finals of the tournament. The Spanish duo met professionally only once at the Madrid Open. Nadal won nine of the first 10 games. He defeated Alcaraz 6-1, 6-2 sweep to move into the Madrid Open round of 16.
Billie Jean King impressed with young Spaniard, Carlos Alcaraz
Before the Indian Wells tournament, Rafael Nadal hit the court with young Spanish phenomenon, Carlos Alcaraz in a practice session on opening day of the BNP Paribas Open. It is the second time the pair have practiced at a tournament together following the 2021 Australian Open.
Rafael Nadal is very impressed with Carlos Alcaraz. He said, “Well, he’s playing very aggressive. He has a lot of potential. He’s a young and good guy, so, I mean, he already has a great level of tennis today, but I really believe that he gonna be a fantastic player in the near future, no?”
Alcaraz is the youngest active male player to have won multiple ATP titles. It is another record that was previously held by Nadal. Alcaraz currently holds two ATP titles – the 2021 Umag Open and the 2022 Rio Open – at the age of 18 years and 9 months.
They battled for 3+ hours in tough conditions, & I tip my hat to both. Nadal loves & respects our sport & Carlos is a future No 1.
What a great day for tennis.
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) March 20, 2022
Billie Jean King impressed with Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz, tweeted her elation. She wrote, “Thinking about @RafaelNadal vs. @alcarazcarlos03 last night & realizing it’s one of the best matches I’ve ever seen. They battled for 3+ hours in tough conditions, & I tip my hat to both. Nadal loves & respects our sport & Carlos is a future No 1. What a great day for tennis.”
Even though Carlos lost the match, he won the respect of the legend Billie Jean King.