Juan Carlos Ferrero, coach of Carlos Alcaraz and one of the great architects of the growth of the young Spanish tennis player, passed through the microphones of El Larguero on Cadena SER this Monday after Alcaraz was proclaimed champion of the Mutua Madrid Open to add his fourth title of the season and climb to number 6 in the ATP ranking. Ferrero reviewed the growth of Alcaraz, his as coach of Murcia and also the new objectives and goals for the remainder of the season after a great start to the year.
Celebration: “You have to be tough even at night (laughs). We already wanted to celebrate a little bit, to enjoy it and be able to have a quiet dinner. We celebrated it with the whole family, with anecdotes and some speeches from everyone at dinner.”
How is Alcaraz?? “It will always be Carlitos. It’s fine, he takes things very normally. On the bike we talked about things about the game and he was very calm. For better or worse he is a person who takes things normally and that’s good”.
Discovery of Alcaraz: “He came to play at the academy when he was 12-13 years old, we have tournaments here that at a Spanish level are among the best and you heard that there was a kid who played very well for his age and obviously it was Carlitos. The first time I saw him compete well when he won his first ATP point at the age of 14 in Murcia and I went to see him the match he lost. But at 14 he already showed those differences that you can see in a player. At that age he was a bit messy because he used to many drop shots, already with the right he made a difference but as I say I was a spaghetti on a physical level and you could see very special things on him. I liked him a lot. We hadn’t even spoken to be able to work with him, but I already liked him”.
Beginnings as a coach: “It was a bit with the relationship he had with his manager and all the tennis players he has brought. When I finished with Zverev, he knew that I was free and he gave me the possibility of training Carlos, that I should think about it very well, that it was very different from what I had lived with Zverev, that he was already 3 or 4 in the world, and I already you get used to the circuit with planes, hotel… With Carlitos it was different. You had to travel with him to the tournaments by car, go to Brazil and tour the country by car to play 2 or 3 tournaments… I thought about it well, for me it was a personal and professional growth bet also as a coach to work with a kid from a young age and prepare him well, let him improve. I proposed it, I told my family and they agreed and the closeness also helped.”
Progression: “It was clear to me that he was going to be very good, when was the dilemma. When I have put him to train with better players than him, he has always given the level and that tells you a lot about a player and the ability to adapt to situations that arise. they put more complicated things ahead and solve them with that character that he used to do because he tells you where things are going to go. When? I was clear about the number in which this year is going to end and I’m not on the wrong track I’m not going to say it because it would put more pressure on him. His goal is to be number one. In December, talking to him, we talked about the goals for the following year. Now he is one step away from the Top-5, but in December we had to imagine it When I was talking about the Top-15, it was a great goal. When you are close to 100 and you want to go up to 15, you have to have an almost perfect year, it is a very significant rise. But if of all the tournaments he has played, he has only lost in two It’s hard to imagine starting a year like this”.
Grand Slam: “Tennis-wise, we all agree that he can win a Grand Slam. Mentally he has tremendous desire and ambition. But in a Grand Slam, the fact that the matches are five sets and that you have to play against tennis players like Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic or any other player, you have to maintain the level longer, you have to recover better physically, there will come a match in which don’t play well and have to win because in a Grand Slam it is very difficult to do all seven matches very well. A lot of things have to happen in a Grand Slam to win it. He’s prepared? Yes. Is it going to happen? My illusion is that yes and he is prepared to fight for it. He has already said that it is a very clear objective of his. I like to go step by step. We have the illusion and we are going to prepare him so that he goes as prepared as possible”.
Ankle injury and resignation from Roma: “He will be ready for Roland Garros. The ankle in the end was a grade 1 sprain, almost grade 2, but more 1, and not going to Rome I think it was a good decision to rest. Yesterday (for Sunday) he got up with the most swollen ankle due to the effort of the match against Djokovic, the blister heals but it looked a bit ugly. The freshness that he will have this week and filling the gas tank to face a tournament with matches to five sets, I think it was a good decision. We feel very sorry for the people of Rome, it is a spectacular tournament, I really wanted to go but after the final we made that decision”.
Family: “It is not easy to assimilate what is happening. Carlos is lucky, and so am I as a coach, that the family is made up of ten. They have let me work from minute one without getting involved and that the father has played tennis and could tell me many things. They are calm, they are a simple and humble family. They understand what is happening and try to adapt as quickly as possible, just like Carlos. I am very happy to be part of this group.”
Nadal and Alcaraz: “Rafa transmits something impressive and we have been able to see that Carlos too. What you have to do is try to enjoy both of them to the fullest, since before people looked at Rafa for his merits and now if they also look a little at Carlos, welcome. Being his coach I have a good time watching him play, and that he should be suffering and it’s incredible for me “
Carlitos, Charly or Carlos? “I call him Charly, but when I get angry I call him Carlos (laughs). He is used to being called Carlitos or Charly.”
Other coaches when he started with Alcaraz: “I haven’t even thought about it. I get a lot of love from them, I think people are very happy. It is true that at the beginning there were many coaches and many people who, when I took Carlos, told me: ‘Where are you going? If you have been number one of the world. How are you going to mess with a kid to travel by car from here to there?’ and I told them: ‘Well, we’ll talk’ (laughs). I’m very happy with the decision I made. Saying it now is very easy, but all the work of the entire group and the entire environment during these three years that we have been breaking stone to the top. We are very happy, it has gone well and it has been a job with a lot of human quality. It is very nice”.
Alcaraz Improvements: “Perseverance. There are times when you lose a little bit. We saw it more in the Godó games than in Madrid, but it is true that there are times when you win and it gets a little mixed up, on a mental level, and then you go back up. It has always been Its essence, I play three spectacular games and then in another two I stop a bit. There you have to improve, a person’s maturity plays an important role. On a technical level, I told the group that there are still many things to improve. Maybe people don’t believe it, but the coach sees a lot of things to improve. The forehand has to hit it more forward, which sometimes gets mixed up a bit, the backhand has to be better supported, the serve has to improve with the directions, because he has speed, he has to be a little more daring than the rest… At 19 it’s impossible that he doesn’t have things to improve.
Goals: “Now the goal is to finish the year in the top five, now it’s very close. Another goal is to play the ATP Finals at the end of the year, which is very much on his mind. The ranking is not important. Now what What matters is that you enjoy yourself, that you let your tennis flow, that you are mentally fresh to reach the tournaments and the ranking is only a consequence. I give more importance to your growth than to the ranking. Last year I did not give importance to it even if it helps you to enter tournaments.