by Saqib Ali
Here is the print transcript of our interview with former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero. He took time from his busy schedule at the academy to answer some questions.
SA: You had a great career, won Roland Garros and was ranked world number one in 2003. How important was to be ranked world number one especially in an era when Spanish players were not seen as great fast court players. You and Carlos Moya before you were the guys who changed that?
JCF: Reach the number 1 ATP is important in every era. Is really hard to reach it. Spanish players has feel always more comfortable on clay court but the circuit is each day most based on hard court so all players including Spaniards are trying to be more competitive on hard than before.
SA: You represented a new breed of the Spanish baseliner who played very aggressive from the baseline with a great forehand. How did that style come along? Who were your tennis heroes growing up?
JCF: The tennis I played was the one I feel most comfortable with, so I start like that and improve my game bearing that in mind. Independently of my references. I always like tennis and watch as many matches as possible. My main “hero” when I was young was Jim Courier.
SA: During the peak of your career, you were diagnosed with chicken pox. Do you think it impacted your career, momentum wise as you had made the semifinals of Australian open in 2004 and had to miss time because of chicken pox? Were you the same player after the chicken pox?
JCF: Yes, it affected my career a lot and it takes me long time to recover and, after, to been able to reach a high level, playing again comfortable and enjoining myself.
SA: Nadal is still pretty good on clay, but we don’t see the next Spaniard who can challenge for majors and especially clay titles? What’s happening with the next gen of Spanish players? Any good juniors coming up?
JCF: There are many nice Spaniards on the circuit, and Spain still has been a reference where to practice and play tournaments as the level here is always really hard. The circuit in general had lost a complete generation of players but now there´s young players again that are starting to fight for the big titles to the big four. For sure will be Spaniards upfront as well.
SA: What’s your life after retirement been? How involved are you in the tennis academy?
JCF: I´m really involved. I live there with my family. I am on the day for the big decisions and when I can I try always to be on court. Talking with the players and even training them.
SA: Will you be up for coaching on the tour if some player approaches you?
JCF: Yes, I like to help nice player in the tour. I am already working with Pablo Carreño as he is player of the academy, but for sure I would be glad to work as coach of other players.
SA: What do you think of the Agassi Djokovic partnership?
JCF: It is just few days of partnership. Not sure if Novak will look after for a stronger relationship with other coach. I think Agassi prefer to enjoy his family than travel too much. For ex players as us, is normal. We had been most of our time travelling. For sure he will be able to help Novak during this short stay but then Novak should be keep working with his staff.
SA: Since Roland Garros starts in few days, who are some of the guys who can challenge Nadal this year?
JCF: I think he is the main favourite. But Murray and Djokovik as well as Wawrinka can be really dangerous if they find the motivation and start the tournament with nice feelings. We should also see Thiem and Zverev that has been doing a really great clay circuit.
SA: If you look back at your career, do you think you could have won more at Roland Garros?
JCF: Yes sure, after finish every player thinks they were been able to do more. That´s the experience you had won during that years what allows you realized of that but the things were given at that moment. I´m really happy with why all I win in my career anyway.