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With first Slam and top ranking achieved, coach Ferrero says “the goal is to keep growing as a player” for Alcaraz

Ferrero says that Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will be the biggest obstacles for Alcaraz in 2023 but believes many others, including Medvedev, Tsitsipas, Zverev and Rublev, will be in the hunt for the big titles

Juan Carlos Ferrero and Carlos Alcaraz at the 2022 US Open Juan Carlos Ferrero and Carlos Alcaraz at the 2022 US Open Image Credit: AI/Reuters/Panoramic

After a wildly successful season that no one would have scripted accurately at the beginning of 2022, there’s no resting on their laurels for the team of Carlos Alcaraz and coach Juan Carlos Ferrero. The 19-year-old Spaniard already has a first Grand Slam title under his belt (at the US Open last September) and achieved the world No 1 ranking (currently No 2) but coach Ferrero is clear that the goal is to keep Alcaraz growing as a player.

“The goal is to keep growing as a player,” Ferrero told Clay ahead of this week’s Argentina Open in Buenos Aires where his young charge will make his season debut after missing the Australian Open due to injury. “What we want is for him to stay at the top for a long time, to keep playing well, to keep competing and winning very important tournaments.”

Ferrero, who has been working with Alcaraz since he was 15, outlined a few areas that the team is working on to make Alcaraz a more complete player.

“He has a lot of things to improve. The consistency in the serve, in the return to have better directions, to be better at the beginning of the matches, more regular, because many times it costs him a little bit to start. And on a technical level he also has a lot of things to improve, like his backhand slice, blocking the return…. Things that at 19 years old, no matter how much you are No 1, you have to polish.”

To be happy with himself and the work he does, to give 100 percent, it is his obligation

Juan Carlos Ferrero

Ferrero, a former world No 1 and US Open champion himself, says the team does not have specific goals of winning tournaments or ending the season as world No 1, rather wants Alcaraz to give his 100 percent.

“Talking about tournaments and success is rash and puts a bit of pressure on him” Ferrero told Clay. “He knows he doesn’t have to, but he is one of the favourites to win tournaments. We know that if he gives the level, he will have a chance to win important tournaments. To say today what would be a success and what would not is very difficult. To be happy with himself and the work he does, to give 100 percent, it is his obligation. Winning tournaments is not his obligation. Winning tournaments is a consequence of that. If he doesn’t finish 2023 as No 1 You see the names that are up there and how difficult it is, we will do our best to have the best year possible. Carlos has had a fantastic year, to equal it would be a super success and to improve on it, you can’t even count on it. And if he plays a little bit worse it’s normal. But Carlos surprises me a lot, when you think that something is no longer possible, he pulls things out of his sleeve.”

“Rafa and Novak is impossible to take them out of the equation” – Ferrero on the biggest rivals for Alcaraz in 2023

During the interview, Ferrero revealed that Roland-Garros is a big goal for Alcaraz this year. “Roland Garros is a very clear objective for him, also to be more consistent in the clay court season. Indian Wells is a tournament he would like to win, there are a lot of tournaments that motivate him a lot. I talked to him that he still has a lot of things to improve.”

Ferrero added that several players, including Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, will make things difficult for Alcaraz in 2023.

“Rafa and Djokovic have earned to be there, you can’t exclude them. Of course, I also give the others a chance. (Stefanos) Tsitsipas, (Alexander) Zverev, (Andrey) Rublev, (Daniil) Medvedev, who always gives the level. There are many with options to lift a Grand Slam title, but Rafa and Novak is impossible to take them out of the equation.”

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