Rafael Nadal has 1000 lives says quarter-final rival Carlos Alcaraz

ATP Tour
Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal shake hands

Carlos Alcaraz is wary of labelling his match against Rafael Nadal at the Madrid Open as his best chance to beat the 21-time Grand Slam winner.

Nadal struggled through the previous round, when he saved four match points before beating David Goffin.

Alcaraz comes into the match on a winning streak but wasn’t oozing confidence ahead of the all-Spanish quarter-final contest.

“Honestly, I don’t know,” Alcaraz admitted when asked if he knew how to beat Nadal.

“I always say he has a thousand lives. He survives in every match, in every tough match for him. I think if I have a really good game then I have chances to win.”

Alcaraz rubbished the suggestion that he was the favourite for the quarter-final matchup.

“Rafa is the best ever on clay. Even if he says I’m the favourite tomorrow, he’s the five-time champion so he must be the favourite,” Alcaraz said in a post-match press conference. “I’m the new one, the player who shouldn’t feel pressure for competing against one of the all-time greats.

“I’m earning my own path,” he added. “I am very happy for the way the public is cheering me on. But Rafa is Rafa. The people love me more every day, but Rafa is much more famous. I hope a little section of the stadium supports me tomorrow. But I’m ready to know that most of the crowd will be behind him.”

Nadal had to battle to overcome Goffin but he was taking the positives from that clash insisting that the time on court has done him good.

“Three hours and 10 [minutes] on court, that helps to increase my physical performance,” he said. “A very important victory, saving match points. That’s confidence, that gives me the chance to keep going. I need matches and I need a day like today to be fitter sooner.”

Awaiting the winner of this blockbuster encounter will be an equally mammoth semi-final against Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic beat Hubert Hurkacz in the first quarterfinal 6-3, 6-4 to confirm that he is getting back to his best ahead of a big weekend.

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