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Rafael Nadal says Spain have a ‘very special’ talent on their hands in Carlos Alcaraz, and one he is looking forward to watching.

Nadal has been one of the players to dominate men’s tennis for the last 15 years along with rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

At the time he came through, he was the latest in a consistent line of top Spanish talent, although that dried up a little during Nadal’s career. Pablo Carreno Busta and Roberto Bautista Agut have been regular top 20 players, but no Spanish man other than Nadal had won a major since 2003 until Alcaraz became US Open champion this year.

Alcaraz has also become the youngest world number one in history during 2022, and Nadal says he is as excited about him as anyone else.

“There has always been a generational change. It is true that we had been missing in recent years, we were only Nadal, Carreno, Bautista,” Nadal said. “But now someone very special has arrived.

“Carlos is a very different player, who aspires to be one of the best in history.

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“He is young, he has started well, he has the potential to achieve great things and he is already achieving them. [I am] happy to have someone very good in our country and that we enjoy him for many years.”

Nadal also paid tribute to Spanish tennis in general, and he believes his nation has dramatically overachieved considering their resources.

“We are a country with a great tennis tradition,” he said. “We are not a big country, nor do we have the Federation that has the most resources.

“We have great references in world tennis, but we are not a Federation like the Canadian or Italian who receive large income a year for organising Masters 1000.

“But we are a country that has opted to organise many tournaments of lower categories and that has had a very big impact on young people.”

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