HomeTennisRafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz mural defaced just two days after unveiling

Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz mural defaced just two days after unveiling

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Tennis fans have been left outraged after a mural showing Rafael Nadal passing his crown to Carlos Alcaraz was ruined in Madrid. Nadal, 37, is set to pave the way for 20-year-old Alcaraz to be the poster boy for Spanish tennis when he calls time on his career later this year.

Alcaraz is already the nation’s dominant force on court, with his career moving in a different direction to injury-stricken Nadal’s. There are currently more than 500 places between the pair in the ATP world rankings due to the limited competitive action seen by Nadal over the past year.

To mark the passing of the torch from the retirement-bound veteran to the young superstar, a mural was unveiled in Madrid earlier this week showing Alcaraz and Nadal arm in arm, with a crown being passed over to the youngster.

Just two days later, photos have circulated online showing that the very same mural has been defaced, with much of the creation chipped away and black paint sprayed on top of it.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Nadal and Alcaraz both fell to painful defeats in front of their home supporters at the Madrid Open only days earlier. Beginning the tournament with only two matches under his belt in the previous three months, Nadal made a spirited run to the round of 16.

Darwin Blanch, Alex de Minaur and Pedro Cachin all came out on the losing side against the 22-time Grand Slam champion before 30th seed Jiri Lehecka got the better of Nadal in straight sets.

Fighting back tears, the Spaniard said after the match: “This is one of those times where when it arrives, it’s very difficult. I can thank everyone who helped me in my career. It’s a gift what you have given me here, the memories on this court are amazing.

“I have been fortunate in my life to turn my passion into my job. I am privileged. I am lucky that as a kid I got to do the job I love. I am lucky to have lived the way I have lived and I cannot ask for any more.

“I hope to have been an example for new generations. I can only say thank you, there is nothing else. It is a difficult day, but my body is giving me signals that I should stop. Finishing here has given me so much pleasure. My dream was to finish here on court.”

Alcaraz, meanwhile, fought his way into the quarter-finals before being beaten in three sets by Andrey Rublev. The Russian faces Taylor Fritz in the Madrid Open semis today (Friday), with Felix Auger-Aliassime taking on Lehecka in the other high-stakes clash.

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