Rafael Nadal has quickly developed a taste for the game of Carlos Alcaraz after spoiling  the youngster’s 18th birthday 6-1, 6-2 on Wednesday in a battle of Spain’s tennis generations at the Madrid Masters.  

“If we were making a salad and putting ingredients in to fill that salad, I’d say he has enough ingredients to become a great player,” top seed Nadal said after his win into the fourth round.

“He plays very aggressive tennis , he has a lot of potential, he is young and he is a very good boy.

“He has already shown that today he has a high level of tennis, but I sincerely believe that he will be a splendid player in the future.”

Victory for five-time Madrid winner Nadal puts him into a match with Australian Alexei Popyrin, who beat Italian teen Jannik Sinner 7-6(5), 6-2. 

Nadal, who came to the capital with another Barcelona title to hand, is pleased with his own clay game as the run-up to Roland Garros tightens.

“I am feeling comfortable with the service again, with confidence, I think I have recovered a few things (form).

“It was a matter of trust, of routines, of technical improvements. But without doubt the important thing is to have the peace of mind.

“The victory in Barcelona helped me a lot; with the tranquility of having already won, I’ve taken steps forward in that sense.”

Main photo:- Carlos Alcaraz receives a birthday cake from Rafa Nadal and TD Feliciano Lopez by ATPTour.com.

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