After a successful playing career, former world no. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero opened JCFerrero-Equelite Sports Academy in Villena. Over the years, many notable names have been training at the Academy, including Carlos Alcaraz, the most promising Spanish youngsters.
One of the most impressive players born in 2003 made stellar progress in 2020 under Ferrero's guidance, hoping for more of the same in 2021. The 17-year-old Alcaraz qualified for his first Major tournament in Doha a couple of days ago, earning the Australian Open main draw spot and seeking the first Major victory from February 8.
Carlos is ranked inside the top-150 following his first ATP victory and three Challenger titles in 2020, standing as the player to beat on the Challenger Tour once the season restarted. The 2003 Roland Garros champion Ferrero is doing his best to guide Carlos through his first professional years, keeping him away from big expectations and focusing on constant improvements.
Juan Carlos admires that Alcaraz has become the youngster to watch, but he doesn't want to make comparisons, especially not with the 20-time Major champion Rafael Nadal. Speaking about his great compatriot, Juan Carlos said that it's impossible to repeat what Rafa has achieved in the previous 15 years and that he wants to keep Carlos aside from those stories.
Nadal is widely considered the most outstanding Spanish athlete of all time, conquering 20 Major titles and 35 Masters 1000 crowns. The 34-year-old finished the previous season inside the top-2 for the record-breaking 12th time, not following Novak Djokovic's pace but keeping the other rivals behind him.
Juan Carlos Ferrer refuses to compare Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal.
Rafa lost the ATP throne after the ATP Cup and the Australian Open and won the 85th ATP title in Adelaide before the coronavirus outbreak. Returning to the court in September, Nadal lost the Rome quarter-final to Diego Schwartzman and bounced back at Roland Garros, winning all seven matches without losing a set to lift the 13th Parisian crown and the 20th Major.
"It's inevitable to make comparisons, but the fewer there are, the better. It's impossible to match what Rafael Nadal achieved. We are trying to keep Carlos calm and focused on his tennis, regardless if he becomes world no.
1 or stays outside the top-15. The most important thing for him is to work hard; the achievements and numbers will come in the future. That's why we all try to keep him away from big record lists or comparisons; that's not good for him at this stage of his young career and could only bring mount pressure on his back.
The good thing is that Carlos takes everything well, making his way and working hard for every victory," Juan Carlos Ferrero said.