Rafael Nadal faces potential opener against Carlos Alcaraz in Madrid
The present and future faces of Spanish tennis Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz are expected to meet in the second round of the Madrid Open.
Five-time champion Rafael Nadal will await the winner of the first-round tie between NextGen talent Carlos Alcaraz and experienced Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.
A second-round match against his idol Nadal would be a dream for the 17-year-old Spaniard, who recently described his practice session with the 13-time Roland Garros champion as ‘unforgettable’.
Nadal, who enters Madrid fresh of a 12th victory in Barcelona, is bidding to win his first title in Madrid since 2017, where he defeated Dominic Thiem 7-6(8), 6-4 in a high-quality encounter.
Alcaraz is not the only NextGen talent in Nadal’s section of the draw as Miami runner-up and 14th seed Jannik Sinner is the first seed the 35-time ATP Masters 1000 champion could face in Madrid.
Acapulco titlist Alexander Zverev and Miami champion Hubert Hurkacz also find themselves in Nadal’s quarter of the draw.
Third seed and two-time Madrid runner-up Dominic Thiem will make his first appearance since Dubai in March, joined in his section by Grigor Dimitrov who crushed his Australian Open hopes earlier this year.
Daniil Medvedev, who is playing in his first clay-court match of the season, could face a tricky test against Estoril semi-finalist Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the second round.
The Russian, who owns a 17-3 record this year, will be seeking his first win in Madrid after first-round losses in 2018 and 2019.
Monte-Carlo champion Stefanos Tsitsipas will attempt to continue his impressive start to his clay swing in Madrid, facing either Doha champion Nikoloz Basilashvili or Benoit Paire in his first match.