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

Nadal's decision to practice with Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz last week, in the final days leading up to the year's first Grand Slam event, raised the volume of the hype surrounding the teenage prodigy

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Rafael Nadal | Tennis

Matthew Futterman | NYT 

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 up to the year’s first Grand Slam event, ...

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First Published: Thu, February 11 2021. 22:31 IST