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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Friday May 6, 2022

As his quarter-final with Rafael Nadal hung in the balance on Friday, an ailing Carlos Alcaraz had a moment of clarity between the second and third sets.

Tennis Express

Dealing with a tweaked ankle after a dangerous fall in the middle set, the 19-year-old had lost his focus on court as King of Clay Nadal took the momentum from him and forced a decider.

But Alcaraz had time to recover, and during a silent moment off court he game himself a pep talk that will resonate with him for a long time.

“I lost the second set, and then after, I went to the bathroom. It helped me,” Alcaraz recalled. “I washed my face. ‘Okay, Charlie, if you're not going to pull out, think about playing. Don't think on your ankle. Don't think on nothing else. Fight till the very last ball, because you know that you are capable of doing it.’”


With his mindset rearranged Alcaraz went back on court and took to the play to Nadal. He dictated early and often and raced to the finish line, becoming the first teenager to ever defeat the great Nadal on his beloved clay, and the youngest player to ever reach the semifinals at Madrid.

“That's what has helped me to go upwards on the third set, to do my comeback, to play the way I have played, and I have played at a really high level as I have,” Alcaraz said.

Alcaraz on Djokovic - One of the Best in History

Next up the World No.9 from Spain will try to accomplish something that has never been done on clay before: to defeat Nadal and Novak Djokovic in back-to-back matches. Alcaraz has immense respect for World No.1 Djokovic, but he believes in his game and thinks he’ll have his chances in the match.

“Of course Djokovic is one of the best players of history for me,” he said. “For me, everything that he has achieved for tennis, it's amazing. You just can admire him.”


Alcaraz improved to 1-2 lifetime against Nadal on Friday, but he has yet to face Djokovic in a match. He did, however, practice with Djokovic earlier this week in Madrid.

“Well, I am there. I have lived tough moments,” Alcaraz said. “The first time that I'm going to face him, but it's not the first time I'm going to play in front of a lot of people in a great court, in a semifinals of a Masters 1000.

“So I'm going to step into the court the way I have stepped out today. Of course there are going to be nerves, but I'm going to try to manage them in the best possible way, and I'm going to try to give a good level. I know that I'm going to have opportunities, and of course the training that I have had with him this week, it helps me a little bit to know how to face him in tomorrow's match.”


Alcaraz: Ankle is Fine…

Regarding the right ankle that was twisted during the battle with Nadal, Alcaraz told reporters that he thinks he’ll be fine to take on Djokovic on Saturday.

“Talking about my ankle, right now I'm going to say that it's fine,” he said. “I am going to do all that's in my hands to be able to recover for tomorrow so it's not at 100 percent but 200 percent for tomorrow.”

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