The 'Next Rafa': Nadal's heir apparent is 17 and playing in Australian Open

Topics Rafael Nadal | Tennis


There are two Rafael Nadal story lines swirling about during this first week of the Australian Open. One involves the 20-time Grand Slam winner’s lower back, which, in his words, is not great, though it did not get in the way of his efficient, straight-sets win over Laslo Djere of Serbia in the first round Tuesday.

The second story line involves a 17-year-old Spaniard named Carlos Alcaraz who has suddenly become known as “the next Rafa.” Nadal’s decision to practice with Alcaraz last week, in the final days leading.

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