Jaume Munar believes Carlos Alcaraz has solved a "little problem" for Spanish tennis by virtually announcing himself as Rafael Nadal's successor with his rapid rise over the last couple of years. While Munar stressed that tennis is generally enjoying good health in the country, Alcaraz catapulting himself to the very top of the world stage was important.
Speaking exclusively to Sportskeeda at the end of his 2023 Tata Open Maharashtra campaign, the World No. 58 lauded the 19-year-old, while also shedding light on why Spanish tennis is in a very strong position.
Munar feels Carlos Alcaraz's rise came at an ideal time as David Ferrer's retirement left a vacuum in the order of ascendancy behind Nadal.
"I think we had a little problem as a country with the way that Rafa was getting older and we didn’t have the second one behind him after (David) Ferrer," Jaume Munar stated. "But Alcaraz covered that and he’s working, I mean, (he’s) among the best."
Alcaraz and Nadal may be a level higher, but the fact that there are as many as eight Spaniards currently in the ATP Top-65 means Spain continues to shine as a collective unit on the world stage.
Munar credited a large part of that continued success to the Spanish Tennis Federation for ensuring that the number of tournaments organized back home even at the junior level is plenty for players to keep improving at a good rate.
He further opined that tennis is "peaking" in Spain and wants to see the hard work continue.
"With the players, I think we’re in a good position," the 25-year-old further said. "The federation is doing a great job, we’re having a lot of tournaments now, they’re investing a lot on that, and I think that is important to get more players to the top."
"They have been doing an amazing job the last couple of years and this is the result that we keep up there with the best countries in the world, and tennis is peaking," he added.
Carlos Alcaraz set to miss Australian Open 2023, Rafael Nadal to begin title defense as top seed
Carlos Alcaraz announced his withdrawal from the 2023 Australian Open on Saturday, more than a week in advance of the start of the first Grand Slam of the season.
The World No. 1 will miss his first Major since becoming the top-ranked player. Alcaraz cited a knee injury that he picked up out of nowhere during the pre-season as the reason behind his withdrawal.
"When I was at my best in the pre-season, I picked up an injury through a chance, unnatural movement in training. This time it's the semi-membranosus muscle in my right leg," the Spaniard said in a statement.
Alcaraz's withdrawal means that his compatriot and 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal will bid to defend his Australian Open title as the top seed. Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas will be the second and third seeds respectively.