With the population of 5,000,000, Costa Rica is yet to produce players capable of earning enough WTA points to find themselves on the WTA ranking list. Besides that, this Central American country has only five girls on the ITF junior list, with none of them ranked in the top-1500.
Nicole Alfaro is the youngest one in the pack, making her first steps on the junior circuit and hoping to pursue big goals in the years to come. Working with her dad, this 14-year-old girl is one of the most promising youngsters in Central America and the Caribbean region, reaching four U14 finals this season and still seeking the first title.
Nicole studies online from home at "Abeka Academy," training for five hours every day from Monday to Friday, with competitive matches during weekends. Besides that, Nicolas has an online instructor from the Spanish Tennis Federation who works on the mental aspect of her game, preparing the youngster for the challenges in the upcoming years.
At the moment, Alfaro's next big event is the Copa America that takes place at Orlando, Florida, between December 9-13, bringing the best U14 and U16 players from the region. Nicole will try to go all the way and earn the opportunity to work with the best ITF coaches and travel to South America and Europe in 2020.
"I want to play Grand Slams, study at a university in another country and play professionally, that's my wish in the future," said Nicole. "In Costa Rica, she has had an impeccable trajectory, she participates very often outside the country and these experiences have helped her to professionalize; it is the best way in which an athlete can achieve a better position and is competing outside the country.
Each tour means US$20,000 and if Nicole does well, it's a great prize. This year they have a good team, the tournament is played in pairs and Nicole will play with the number one in the area, a Mexican, and although it is difficult to win, if they reach the semifinals, the chances of winning the tours are high," said Nicole's dad.