Tennis: Nadal tips teenagers Alcaraz, Sinner as future champions

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Rafael Nadal tipped fellow Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz as a champion on Tuesday after the 17-year- comfortably won debut Grand Slam clash at Melbourne Park.

Alcaraz has been making waves since ATP Tour debut last year and burnished credentials by upsetting seed David Goffin in the Great Ocean Road Open last week.

He swept past fellow qualifier Botic Van de Zandschulp 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 in the Australian Open first round and 20-time Grand Slam winner Nadal has hopes for him.

“He has intensity, he has the passion. mean, he has the shots,” said Nadal, practised with Alcaraz last week.

“He has all the ingredients to become a great champion. ’s all about how much you are able to during the next couple years.”

Alcaraz was barely inside the 500 at the start last , but has raced to 141 and is charging towards the 100.

World number Nadal also had praise for fast-improving 19-year- Italian Jannik Sinner, in November became the youngest ATP champion in 12 years when he won in Sofia.

Sinner, ranked 32, backed up breakthrough by clinching the Great Ocean Road title and was unlucky to crash Monday over five tough sets to world number 11 Denis Shapovalov.

“Honestly, he’s a great guy, he’s humble, he’s relaxed, he’s a good worker,” Nadal said Sinner, he also practised with in .

“The same thing that talk about Alcaraz — he’s already there for important things, winning a title just the previous week.

mean, am sure he’s going to finish this year in a position of the ranking. I don’t have a doubt of that.”