Rafael Nadal gives a green light to the ultimate Olympic dream team
It’s the doubles dream team tennis fans would love to see at next summer’s Olympic Games and now it appears it could become a reality.
Carlos Alcaraz appears to be ready to step into Rafael Nadal’s shoes as the king of Spanish tennis after the 20-year-old boy wonder claimed his first two Grand Slam titles over the last year.
Alcaraz’s success has come at a time when Nadal’s future in the sport is in real doubt, as he battles injuries that may end his career.
The 37-year-old is hoping to make a return to tennis in 2024 for what he has suggested will be one final year before he hangs up his rackets for a final time.
Now tennis fans have been offered the tantalising prospect of one of Nadal’s final appearances in competitive tennis coming alongside Alcaraz at next summer’s Paris Olympics.
In an interview with AS, Nadal has given a hint that he is ready to team up with Alcaraz in the drive to win a gold medal for Spain.
“To play doubles with him at the 2024 Olympics? I would like to do so,” he stated.
“It would be a good motivation, another incentive, for me to be able to close my Olympic career playing with Carlos, with everything he is achieving, with the young people and with the great future he has ahead of him.”
Alcaraz has been inspired by Nadal’s success and the prospect of playing alongside the all-time great of Spanish tennis would be a surreal experience.
“It would be a dream,” he said. “Not only to win a medal at singles or doubles, but just to live the experience of playing doubles with your idol would be a memory that I would keep with special affection.”
Nadal also reflected on Alcaraz’s rise that has taken place during his absence from the tour and he believes his young compatriot is the only player who can challenge Novak Djokovic’s dominance at the top of the game.
And while many were surprised by Alcaraz’s thrilling win against Djokovic in the Wimbledon final in July, Nadal was not shocked by the win for the youngster.
“He has been the world No 1 until recently and although he is very young, right now, practically, the only rival I see for him is Djokovic,” he added.
“He is one step above the others. My feeling from outside the circuit is that when he plays, the games normally depend on him 90 per-cent of the day.
“I’m not surprised by what happened at Wimbledon.”
Nadal suggested in his interview with Movistar+ that Alcaraz did not need his advice, but he urged the tennis community to dilute their expectations around the rising star of the game.
“We should not rush into judgments about him. He has a brutal projection. He has the power, the ambition. But later in the careers of each athlete, many things can happen,” said Nadal.
“It is difficult to advise him. I am very bad at advising because I have learned more from examples than from words. But if I had to tell him something, I would only tell him to keep improving or at least have the hope of doing it, which is what keeps you motivated.”
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