MADRID (AP) — Rafael Nadal is downplaying his chances in his much anticipated Madrid Open quarterfinal against Carlos Alcaraz — the youngster touted in Spain as his successor.
The 35-year-old Nadal and the 19-year-old Alcaraz will meet Friday in a clash of generations that Spanish fans had been craving to see up close.
Nadal has won both matches he played against Alcaraz but said the youngster is in better form entering Friday's encounter in what should be a sold-out "Caja Mágica" center court.
teNadal said. "I think I am a very realistic person, and that doesn't take me to not believe that I can win or that I can do it, but today I think that Alcaraz is in a better physical state of mind, is more fit. I came here without playing. He's younger, so he has that extra energy."
Nadal is returning from a six-week injury layoff and couldn't prepare properly for the tournament in Madrid. He saved four match points in his three-set win over David Goffin in the third round on Thursday.