- 09 Feb 2021
World No 2 Rafael Nadal sailed into the second round of the Australian Open on day two before backing “humble” fellow Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz to have a “great career” following his maiden grand slam win.
Nadal cruised to a 6-3 6-4 6-1 victory over Laslo Djere on Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday, while Alcaraz won his first Grand Slam match with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp, a fellow qualifier.
Murcia native Alcaraz has been billed by Nadal’s uncle and former coach, Toni Nadal, as his nephew’s “natural replacement” and the 20-time grand slam champion says the 17-year-old has all the ingredients to have a great career.
“He’s very good,” Nadal said. “He’s very young. He has everything to improve in the future with his age. He already is where he is, and he has a lot of great things on his game. I really believe that he will have a great future because he’s a good guy, humble, hard worker. He has a lot of positive things.”
“He has all the ingredients to become a great champion”
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 9, 2021
Alcaraz escaping social media hype
Big things are expected of teenager Alcaraz and there was more hype over his potential after an impressive first-round win. But Alcaraz just wants to do his own thing and show why the likes of Rafael and Toni Nadal speak so highly of him.
“So I try to be focus on me, not on the social media, to play my game, play in front of my team, to my team, to me, my family,” he said. “I try to, yeah, to be a part of the social media and don’t hear the comparison with Rafa. Yeah, I try to do this.”