Toni Nadal affirmed in his last column in the newspaper El País who is running as the replacement of his nephew Rafa Nadal as the great banner of Spanish tennis and worldwide: the young Murcian tennis player Carlos Alcaraz.
At the beginning of his column, Toni Nadal is clear when defining who will be the replacement of his nephew Rafael. “Carlos Alcaraz has become, with the endorsement of his results and his game, not only the great hope of Spanish tennis, but also Rafael's natural replacement.”
Toni himself explains how it was the first time he saw Alcaraz in action. “The first time I saw him play it was precisely in a tournament that was played at my nephew's academy and, despite his defeat that day, I predicted that his future in the world of tennis would be very bright. Albert Molina, his manager and great friend of mine, reprimanded me, arguing that my words added an excess of pressure to the boy “.
“He will have to coexist with the pressure and the inevitable comparison with Nadal”
However, Toni Nadal believes that this does not suit Alcaraz, since he will have to live with it. “In an effort to help and protect the young promises they try to create a bubble that seems unnecessary to me. All those who want to stand out will have to endure a pressure that will accompany them throughout their careers. And Carlos will be no less. He will have to live with her and the inevitable comparison with his countryman, Rafael Nadal. “
'Uncle Toni' also states that he sees Alcaraz with the capacity to cope with this pressure and also highlights his great handling of the game. “I see him as a head sufficiently well furnished to sink that pressure, as well as the compliments and expectations that his tennis provokes. He has many of the conditions necessary to become a great player. Despite his 17 years, he treasures an aggressive and varied, a very good physique and a great quality in most of his shots. His progress in the ranking and his evolution in the game have been constant. And that is why, to this day, it occupies number 136 in the ATP ranking. During his youth stage he has become accustomed to counting almost as many games played as victories and has remained, as you might expect, at world number one or two “.
“Rafa's defeats were not a setback as they were against someone older”
Finally Toni Nadal makes a comparison between Alcaraz's irruption on the circuit and that of Rafa Nadal. “It is true that Carlos' entry is premature and that he has a time left in which he will compete with the advantage of knowing that those who surpass him in the ranking also surpass him in age. That happened to Rafael when he entered the ATP circuit being the youngest competitor The losses weren't a big setback, being against someone older, and we saw them as an opportunity to learn and improve. We had that feeling of time and that our moment was yet to come. Carlos' challenge in these years will be as difficult as it is exciting. That mental strength and his conviction that he must continue to grow and improve will allow him to measure face-to-face with Medvedev, Tsitsipas, Sinner and Rublev. I am convinced that Spanish fans are going to enjoy watching the young Murcian win a Grand Slam and qualify for number one in our sport. “