Carlos Alcaraz is a breath of contemporary air in a tennis landscape dominated for decades by three men — and an absolutely gift for Spanish fans in certain.
But this joke — which we presume it was — might be going as well significantly.
Alcaraz has returned from an damage that observed him pass up this year’s Australian Open up with a bang at the tour’s so-identified as fifth important in Indian Wells.
He stormed into a semi-remaining clash towards Jannik Sinner — who is getting to be a normal dance companion and potential lengthy-phrase rival — with a 6-4 6-4 dispatching of Felix Auger-Aliassime.
But it was a sight up in the grandstand that proved the most significant speaking stage for tennis supporters, when one gentleman decked out in Barcelona gear unfurled a Spanish flag.
He’d built a evident adjustment for Alcaraz’s match, taping over the word “Rafa” and adding “Carlitos”.
Even in jest, it was disturbing to see 22-time grand slam winner Nadal — who is at this time out hurt — so suddenly put out to pasture.
Nadal is continue to the reigning French Open winner, won two of the four majors past 12 months and is absolutely the very last man you’d want to write off in spite of his overall body continuing to let him down at 36 yrs of age.
Supporters erupted when an image of the supporter was shared on Reddit.
“What the f***, you know you could just get a new flag man,” wrote just one.
“Bahaha, this is hilarious. Very poor person is gonna have to get an additional flag when Nadal is again on tour,” added a different.
“Typical glory hunter enthusiast, no surprise he is carrying a Barca hoody,” wrote a 3rd.
“High treason! This is hilarious,” added a fourth.
“Carlitos is a pleasant hopeful changeover for Rafa lovers when Rafa retires decades from now,” a fifth wrote.
“Probably immediately after 2024 and I can see Rafa going for 2025 if he however has hope for Roland Garros and why not.
“Federer fans did not have a countryman different that was younger and upcoming like this overlapping so this is awesome.”
Alcaraz, the 2022 US Open up winner, posted his initial victory around Auger-Aliassime in four meetings to hold his bid to regain the globe selection just one ranking on observe.
“It’s wonderful to beat Felix ultimately, and the way I did it, enjoying at a excellent amount,” explained the 19-yr-old, who called it potentially his most effective match of the season.
Italy’s Sinner arrived at the ultimate four with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 victory more than defending champion Taylor Fritz and now has a likelihood to avenge his loss to Alcaraz in an electrifying quarter-final at the US Open up last yr.
That five-set fight lasted 5 hours and 15 minutes, its 2:50am complete the most recent in US Open up heritage. Alcaraz would go on to lift the trophy and grow to be the youngest environment number one particular in the history of the ATP rankings.
“We’ve performed a number of moments and all the matches have been quite challenging,” Alcaraz claimed. “I like this form of obstacle, I’m likely to delight in it.”
Alcaraz hadn’t dropped a set in achieving the quarters, but Auger-Aliassime was the to start with leading-10 participant he has confronted this 12 months.
This time, Alcaraz was prepared for him, expressing his prior defeats to the Canadian experienced taught him to “stay there.”
The two-hour clash was a thrilling display screen of athleticism and shot earning from both of those gamers.
— with AFP