December 9, 2018
Juan Carlos Ferrero is 38 years old. But you wouldn’t be able to tell judging by his effort this week at Champions Tennis. The Spaniard won all three of his matches, flying to the final ATP Champions Tour crown of the season.
“It definitely reminds me when I was competing on the ATP World Tour,” Ferrero said of his level. “I’ve still got something, which is nice.”
You might wonder how Ferrero is able to maintain such a high level more than 15 years after he ascended to top spot in the ATP Rankings. ‘The Mosquito’ was the nickname given to Ferrero over the years, and he still has plenty of bite to this day.
Ferrero spends much of his time at the JC Ferrero-Equelite Sport Academy, where World No. 23 Pablo Carreno Busta trains. That keeps Ferrero around the sport and maintaining the level that helped him win 479 tour-level matches and 16 titles.
“For me it’s a little bit easier to be more fit than the others. I have the Academy and have the gym there so I can practise with the guys,” Ferrero said. “I am still playing a lot so that’s maybe why I can still play at this level.”
On Saturday, Ferrero saved match point to defeat former World No. 2 Goran Ivanisevic, booking his spot in the final. The left-handed Ivanisevic brought his ‘A’ game, but it wasn’t enough against the Spaniard.
“I think I played a good match, but I have to admit Ferrero is better, younger and moving well from all sides of the court,” Ivanisevic said. “He served really well throughout the match.”
Ferrero’s serving has become a staple of his success on the ATP Champions Tour. One year ago, former World No. 1 Marat Safin appeared destined to take the title at the Royal Albert Hall. But the Russian could not match the physicality of Ferrero’s game and his serving in the 2017 championship match.
“Juan Carlos is in good shape, really good shape,” Safin said. “He plays every day, he serves really well.”
On Sunday, Ferrero hit 12 aces and won 83 per cent of his first-serve points, which proved too much for former World No. 2 and recent Legends Cup champion Tommy Haas to overcome.
“I’m very happy because the atmosphere in the finals is always a bit different compared to the other matches. Here at the Royal Albert Hall, you can tell that the crowd is enjoying it a lot and there’s a lot of respect from the other players,” Ferrero said. “It always makes it more special when you win!”