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Ferrero On Alcaraz’s ‘Extremely Good’ Year
Editor's note: This story was translated from ATPTour.com/es
Juan Carlos Ferrero accompanied Carlos Alcaraz to the Spaniard’s press conference after he bowed out to Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals at the Nitto ATP Finals. Sitting on the floor of the press-conference room in the Pala Alpitour, the former World No. 1 listened as his charge offered a self-critique of his loss to the Serb, while also speaking with pride about the best year of his career.
“It’s been a spectacular year,” said Alcaraz. “You have to realise that I picked up 2000 more points than the previous year but played one fewer Grand Slam. I didn’t play in Australia, and it was still my best season. It was incredible, I played some great matches. I’ve improved little by little and also learned how to deal with the pressure, and with difficult moments.”
“On balance it’s been extremely good,” reflected Ferrero, the 20-year-old’s coach, later. “As long as you improve on your previous season, it is good on balance. This year we won the Grand Slam we were least expecting [Wimbledon], and it was a pleasant surprise. And he picked up about 2000 more points without playing in the Australian Open. That says a lot about the effort he’s made at every tournament to build and keep pushing.”November 18, 2023
However, Alcaraz and Ferrero are on the same page in their analysis of the final stretch of 2023. After losing his US Open semifinal to Daniil Medvedev, the two-time Grand Slam champion struggled to keep going.
“A few days ago I read an interview in which Juan Carlos said that I had to learn that the season is from January to November,” confessed Alcaraz. “That couldn’t be more true. Maybe I struggled to handle the last part of the season. As I said, I have so many things to improve on, and that’s one of them. Learning that a tennis player’s season doesn’t end in June, August and September, it carries on until November.”
Ferrero added: “After the US Open, our level dropped a little and in that regard, we have to improve. We have to focus more on being professional all the time. We know what we have to improve in his game and psychology. That is normal for a 20-year-old, and he needs to mature in that area. He tends to be hard on himself, which is something that we all think is great. We like it.
“To be a great professional, you have to stay on top of every aspect. You have to do what is necessary at all times; train at the right time, enjoy yourself at the right time, and disconnect at the right time. He has to improve on certain things, which he knows, and he is trying.”
Alcaraz’s defeat to Djokovic means he ends 2023 with a haul of six titles, including Wimbledon and the ATP Masters 1000s in Indian Wells and Madrid. The Spaniard played 77 matches in the year (65-12), but the World No. 2 would have liked to have ended the season with more under his belt.
“I don’t think that’s a lot,” said Alcaraz. “I think I’m one of the players who has played the fewest tournaments, although probably one of the ones with the most matches. The statistic is good, but the truth is that I would have liked to finish with more matches. That would have meant reaching the latter rounds in the events at the end of the season.”
Ferrero concurred: “Along with a couple of others, he is the player who has played least throughout the year. It’s difficult to play less. If you’re very good, you’ll play many more matches for a long time. You have to realise that and be professional about it, know what your job is and accept it. For me, it’s a very good season. I think he has again taken a small step to grow his game, and in his maturity, but he’s still 20 and has to continue with the process of improving.”
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