The Mosquito – Juan Carlos Ferrero

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The Mosquito – Juan Carlos Ferrero

Nicknamed El Mosquito because of to his speed and small build, Ferrero zipped behind the baseline and hit with deceptive power. His style of play has inspired a generation of Spanish players, the heart and the passion with which every ball was chased was just extraordinary.

The right-hander had a sublime backhand down the line, which was a huge factor in him climbing to the top of the mountain in 2003, when he became World No.1 for the first time. It was a time just before Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer hijacked the spot for years.

After turning pro in 1998, Ferrero took no time in becoming one of the premier clay court players. In 2000, El Mosquito reached the semifinal of Roland Garros, this was incidentally his first appearance in the main draw of the event. The subsequent year, the then 21-year-old equalled that feat losing to eventual champion Gustavo Kuerten in straight sets. In 2002, Ferrero came in as favourite to lift his first title, in the final however, Ferrero had a rare off day as he was squished by fellow Spaniard Albert Costa. Ferrero had beaten Andre Agassi and Marat Safin en route to that final.

The moment that would define Ferrero’s career however came in 2003. The Spaniard finally won that Grand Slam title, something he had been aching for four years now. He avenged his defeat to Albert Costa in the semis and in the final he beat Dutchman Martin Verkerk in straight sets to take the title.