'How on earth': Tennis fans left fuming over Rafa Nadal 'shame'

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·Sports Editor
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Rafa Nadal, pictured here before his clash with David Goffin at the Madrid Open.
Rafa Nadal looks on before his clash with David Goffin at the Madrid Open. (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Madrid Open officials have sparked some anger from tennis fans after scheduling Rafa Nadal's blockbuster clash with Carlos Alcaraz in the day session on Friday.

Nadal will do battle with his 19-year-old protege in the Madrid Open quarter-finals after both men advanced on Thursday.

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Nadal saved four match points en route to a 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (11-9) victory over David Goffin, before Alcaraz celebrated his 19th birthday with a 6-4, 6-7 (7-4), 6-3 win over World No.11 Cameron Norrie.

While tennis fans are frothing over the prospect of seeing the two Spanish stars doing battle in the country's capital, some were less than impressed with the scheduling of the match.

Nadal and Alcaraz's clash has been scheduled for the day session on Friday (local time) and will likely commence at about 4pm.

It will take place after Novak Djokovic's match against Hubert Hurkacz, with Andrey Rublev and Stefanos Tsitsipas getting prime time billing in the night session.

Alexander Zverev will then play Felix Auger Aliassime in the second match of the night session.

Fans took to social media to complain that Nadal and Alcaraz should have been scheduled for the night session when more people can watch.

Carlos Alcaraz, pictured here after advancing to the quarter-finals at the Madrid Open.
Carlos Alcaraz celebrates after advancing to the quarter-finals at the Madrid Open. (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

"Djokovic and possibly Nadal in the same session? Nice way to screw over the people that bought the night session," one fan wrote.

Another commented: "What a shame! Nadal vs Alcaraz is the best quarter-final, the full Spanish game, and they put it in the day session while people work? What a stupid way to sell out the stadium!"

While a third wrote: "How on earth is a potential Nadal-Alcaraz clash not a night time match tomorrow!

"I assume one of them requested afternoon play otherwise it’s a bizarre decision."

Tennis writer Jose Morgado also pointed out that Alcaraz will have less time to recover for the match after playing in the night session on Thursday, as opposed to Nadal who played in the day.

Rafa Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz in blockbuster clash

Nadal has traditionally preferred playing in the daytime and requested that his third round match be played in the afternoon so he could watch his beloved Real Madrid play in the Champions League semi-final on Wednesday night.

The Spaniard said seeing Real come back to beat Manchester City to advance to the final gave him inspiration to fight back against Goffin.

"Yesterday has been an unforgettable night," the 35-year-old said.

"The spirit that the Real Madrid team have is just incredible and for me today in some way has been an inspiration."

Nadal is 2-0 in his career against Alcaraz, having defeated the teen phenom in Madrid last year and at Indian Wells in March.

"I think that today, he is better than me and he has a good dynamic, a good momentum," Nadal said of Alcaraz, who is riding a seven-match winning streak that includes winning the title in Barcelona.

"I'm clear who, from the beginning, has some kind of advantage in tomorrow's match.

"But in that regard, I will try to do as much as possible to be competitive."

Alcaraz said: "I dream of being the best, and I fight for it. And to be the best, you have to beat the best.

"I believe that I am ready for this challenge."

with agencies

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