Juan Carlos Ferrero, also known as “Mosquito Ferrero”, is a former World #1 and the winner of the 2003 French Open. He also won the Davis Cup with Spain three times, and multiple Masters Series events. But the legacy of Ferrero did not end when he retired from professional tennis since his life is still linked to the sport.
The Spaniard founded one of the most successful tennis academies in the world: The JC Ferrero-Equelite Sport Academy.
The Predecessor of Rafael Nadal on Clay
Ferrero will always be remembered for his impeccable attitude on the court and his respect for the opponent. In this sense, he represented the best values of tennis, being a gentleman on and off the court. And despite being very calm, he showed his character when it was necessary to achieve his goals.
Ferrero was the best clay specialist in his early years and the predecessor of Nadal in Spain. Back then, the fight for winning Roland Garros trophy was more open than ever in men’s tennis. There were many other great clay-court players on the tour as for example Kuerten, Coria, Moyà, or Gaudio.
His talent and ambition led Ferrero to win the 2003 French Open and reach the top of the rankings. Actually, he was called to be one of the biggest dominators in tennis, at least on clay. But he suffered some major injuries in 2004. Since then, he never recovered the level of tennis that brought him to the elite. Moreover, the eruption of Federer and Nadal quickly relegated Ferrero to second tier.
Ferrero Ended with Nadal’s 17-match winning streak in Rome
Since 2005 Nadal became the greatest dominator of Roland Garros ever seen before. At his age of 34, he has won 13 titles and still no one seems to be challenging him. Only Robin Soderling in 2009 and Novak Djokovic in 2015 were capable of defeating Nadal in Paris.
Nadal’s dominance on clay has been evident for more than a decade, and few players have been able to defeat him on this surface. But Ferrero was one of them. The “Mosquito” won Nadal back in 2008 Rome R2 in straight sets showing an outstanding level of tennis.
True, Nadal wasn’t able to display his best tennis in the second set due to foot injuries, Ferrero played one of the best matches on clay since his Roland Garros triumph. He was very solid from the baseline and ready to bite like a “Mosquito” when Nadal least expected it. After a very tight first set (7-5), Nadal couldn’t keep battling at the same level and Ferrero won the second 6-1. He had ended with Nadal’s 17-match winning streak in Rome.
The Legacy Of Ferrero: The Academy
As we commented before, the legacy of Juan Carlos Ferrero did not end when he retired from professional tennis. He kept linked to tennis founding a tennis academy in Villena (Spain) called JC Ferrero-Equelite Sport Academy, where he and his team train the new generations of players.
The tennis academy counts with a large number of professional trainers and Ferrero himself lives in the academy. He also gets involved in supervising the training seasons and schedules to help players achieve the best level of tennis.
Well-known players as Pablo Carreño (2020 US Open semifinalist) and Carlos Alcaraz (voted Newcomer of the year at the ATP Awards) are two of the big names of this prestigious academy. However, there are many other future talents winning national tournaments that could appear in the top positions of both men’s and women’s rankings in a few years.
Once Ferrero marked the path for the Spanish players. Maybe now he can also contribute to marking the path for the new generations after Nadal’s retirement. What is clear is that he has converted into one of the greatest tennis ambassadors sharing the good values of this sport with the youngest ones.
Main Photo from Getty.