Who is Carlos Alcaraz Garfia? Rafael Nadal's next opponent at 2021 Mutua Madrid Open

Joshua Rogers May 4, 2021
Photo by Oscar J. Barroso / Europa Press Sports via Getty Images

Carlos Alcaraz Garfia takes on tennis legend Rafael Nadal at the 2021 Madrid Open. Here’s everything you need to know about Spain’s latest tennis star.

Over the next week, Rafael Nadal will attempt to win his sixth Mutua Madrid Open crown. It also offers him a great chance to prepare ahead of the French Open at Roland Garros on 30 May.

The Spanish legend and top-seed will meet 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz Garfia in the second round of the Madrid Open on Wednesday.

Here’s everything you need to know about the teenager looking to cause a big upset in Madrid.

  • REVEALED: Is the Indian Premier League cancelled?
Photo by Oscar J. Barroso / Europa Press Sports via Getty Images

Who is Carlos Alcaraz Garfia?

Carlos Alcaraz Garfia is a Spanish tennis player who is currently ranked No. 118 in the world.

Born on 5 May 2003, the teenager just turned 18, and will celebrate his birthday by playing his idol Nadal.

“It’s the best present for my birthday,” Alcaraz told Tennis Channel, cracking a smile.

“It’s a dream come true. To play against Rafa here in Madrid in front of the Spanish crowd, I will never forget this moment and I will learn from him.”

Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Coached by former world no.1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, Alcaraz made his ATP main draw debut at the 2020 Rio Open.

He defeated fellow countryman Albert Ramos Viñolas, 7–6(7–2), 4–6, 7–6(7–2).

At 17, he qualified for the main draw of the 2021 Australian Open, beating fellow qualifier Botic van de Zandschulp in straight sets on his grand slam debut.

  • TRENDING: F1 gives fans first look at stunning Miami Grand Prix circuit

Carlos Alcaraz vs Nadal: 2021 Mutua Madrid Open

Alcaraz beat Adrian Mannarino in the first round of the Madrid Open to book the clash against his childhood idol.

The Spanish sensation blasted off 19 forehands winners en route to an emphatic 6-4, 6-0 victory, despite Mannarino sitting 86 spots higher in the FedEx ATP rankings.

Alcaraz became the youngest match winner in the Madrid Open tournament history, breaking 18-year-old Nadal’s record from 2004. 

“There will be many comparisons. I’m sure they’ll talk about me and Rafa. They will compare the new generation with the legend,” Alcaraz said after his win.

Nadal, meanwhile, played his last match on the 25 April. He defeated world no.5 Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4 6-7 7-5 in the final in Barcelona.

It was his 87th career title.

  • HOT: What is DeVonta Smith’s 40 time?
Photo by Oscar J. Barroso / Europa Press Sports via Getty Images

Nadal vs Alcaraz: Time and how to watch

Alcaraz will take on Nadal inside Manolo Santana Stadium on Wednesday at the Mutua Madrid Open.

The second round match will be the first encounter between the two Spaniards, with Nadal being the obvious favourite.

The pair are expected on court sometime in the afternoon. The exact time is yet to be confirmed.

For UK viewers, Amazon Prime video will be showing every match of the Mutua Madrid Open.

It is featuring on the Tennis Channel in the US.

Photo by Oscar J. Barroso / Europa Press Sports via Getty Images

Carlos Alcaraz Instagram

Carlos Alcaraz Garfia has almost 80k followers on Instagram, @carlitosalcarazz

His most recent post acknowledged his upcoming match with Rafael Nadal.

Joshua is a senior sports writer with over four years' experience in online writing. He graduated with a BA in Ancient History from The University of Manchester before receiving an MA in Sports Journalism from The University of Central Lancashire. He became a trending writer for a leading social publisher and later spent time covering the 2018 World Cup for The Mirror Online. He then moved to a social marketing agency where he acted as website editor. His specialties on The Focus include F1, tennis, NBA, NFL and combat sports.