The Next Rafa? 15-Year-Old Spaniard Enters History Books In Murcia
When Rafael Nadal was 15 years old, he made his first splash as a professional. It was 29 April 2002 and the future No. 1 would introduce himself with a straight-set win over World No. 81 Ramon Delgado in Mallorca. His first victory over a Top 200 player proved to be a significant moment.
Flash forward to 2019 and another 15-year-old Spaniard is making a splash in the initial stages of his professional journey. On Wednesday, Carlos Alcaraz Garfia crashed onto the scene with the first Top 200 win of his own, defeating countryman and World No. 140 Pedro Martinez 6-3, 7-6(4) at the Murcia Open.
Demonstrating great poise, agility and court instincts, Alcaraz exhibited his potential at the inaugural ATP Challenger Tour event. The teen’s skills were on full display in front of a packed crowd at the Murcia Club de Tenis, as he rallied from a break down in the second set to eventually prevail after one hour and 47 minutes.
Competing in the first ATP Challenger Tour events of his young career, Alcaraz became the first player born in 2003 to win a match last week in nearby Alicante. And this week, he is already into the third round in Murcia with two more victories.
Alcaraz puts himself in strong company with his win over Martinez on Wednesday. He is not only the first player aged 15 & under to upset a Top 200 opponent since Ryan Harrison in 2008 (ATP Houston), but he is just the fifth 15-year-old to do so in the past 20 years. The others? Nadal, Richard Gasquet and Bernard Tomic. In fact, Nadal was just nine days younger when he achieved the feat in Mallorca.
Youngest To Defeat A Top 200 Player (since 2000)
| Bernard Tomic
||15 years, 2 months||No. 147 Jimmy Wang||2008 Australian Open qualifying|
|Richard Gasquet||15 years, 9 months||No. 54 Franco Squillari||2002 Monte-Carlo|
|Rafael Nadal||15 years, 10 months||No. 81 Ramon Delgado||2002 Mallorca|
|Carlos Alcaraz Garfia
||15 years, 11 months, 5 days||No. 140 Pedro Martinez||2019 Murcia Challenger
|Ryan Harrison||15 years, 11 months, 7 days||No. 95 Pablo Cuevas||2008 Houston|
Alcaraz will look to win his third match in three days when he faces fellow teen Rudolf Molleker on Thursday. A spot in the quarter-finals is at stake. And if you’re looking ahead to the weekend, the only player younger than the Spaniard to win a Challenger title was Michael Chang at 15 years, seven months in Las Vegas in 1987. History awaits.
Watch free live stream of Alcaraz’s match on Thursday: