Spanish legend Juan Carlos Ferrero says there may be a big gap between Rafael Nadal and youngster Carlos Alcaraz, but he can still be a threat.
Nadal will play Alcaraz on Wednesday in a hotly anticipated match in front of a home crowd for both Spanish players in Madrid.
And while Nadal, a legend of tennis at 34-years-old, will be hoping he can win his 88th career title and sixth Madrid Masters title this week, for Alcaraz, who will turn 18 on the day of the match, just the thought of playing his childhood idol is a ‘dream come true.’
Although on the outside it would appear to be a David and Goliath challenge ahead, with Nadal as world number two and Alcaraz world number 120, many players and analysts have likened the pair in terms of playing style.
And Ferrero, who is Alcaraz’s coach thinks that despite where both players are in terms of their tennis success, the youngster will pose a definite danger to Nadal.
“Rafa already knows Carlos because we trained together in Australia,” says Ferrero.
“He had that opportunity to play a set and a half. He knows that Carlos is dangerous, that he has to go out with everything.
“Any player who is active and sees a player with projection coming already knows him and studies him . You know that he is dangerous but you also trust yourself.
“Rafa has more than enough experience to know how he has to play. Obviously he will think that Carlos is dangerous, but it is one more game for him.”
Ferrero suggests that although Nadal has the physical stamina and strength to demolish Alcaraz, the youngster may have a mental advantage and the fact he is playing in front of family for the first time in a while may give him an extra push.
“We know that Rafa on clay is practically invincible, but the biggest challenge will be trying to be mentally stable all the time. That has to be Carlos’ main virtue.
“Rafa plays absolutely every point and the youngsters, what costs them the most, is be permanently focused one hundred percent.
“It is a great motivation to do it here, at home. His family is here and they have not seen him play for a long time. He is really looking forward to it,” he added.
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