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Alcaraz is ATP’s Most Improved Player, Ferrero Coach of the Year

Carlos Alcaraz and Juan Carlos Ferrero were arguably tennis’ most dynamic duo in 2022. It’s only fitting that each one ended the year with an ATP Award. Alcaraz earned Most Improved Player honors earlier this week, while Ferrero–Alcaraz’s full-time coach–was named Coach of the Year.

This past season the 19-year-old surged to No. 1 in the world thanks in part to a U.S. Open title along with Masters 1000 triumphs in Miami and Madrid. He also lifted ATP 500 trophies in Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona.

“I’m really happy to receive this award, and I want to say thank you to all my colleagues who voted me as the Most Improved Player of the Year,” said Alcaraz. “For me it’s an amazing achievement. This year has been a really good year for me, a dream year for me, and I’m looking to improve the year in 2023. Thank you very much.”

Holger Rune, Maxime Cressy, and Jack Draper were also up for Most Improved Player.

Coinciding with Alcaraz’s success, Ferrero’s Coach of the Year Award was no surprise. They started working together in 2019, really began to take off in 2021, and have now reached the highest of highs–both at the Grand Slam level and the ATP rankings. One of 2022’s memorable images was Ferrero returning to Miami after attending his father’s funeral Spain, arriving in time for the final (in which Alcaraz defeated Casper Ruud, just as he did six months later at the U.S. Open).

“This year has been an amazing year,” Ferrero assured. “Gladly, all the hard work has been rewarded with results and now with this amazing prize. I’m extremely happy to win the ATP Coach of the Year Award. Thank you all of you for the support.

“I saw [Alcaraz] at 13,” Ferrero added. “He came to the academy (Equelite Sport Academy in Alicante, Spain). We trained one day; he was very small, but everyone was talking about him. He had everything he has now, but in miniature. Officially, I saw him when he got his first ATP point at 14 years of age, then you could see how he competed. When he arrived at the academy at 15, he was a stick; he was fast but didn’t have any muscles. Even so, we saw something very special.”

“It’s happening very quickly. It’s a surprise to everyone, except to me, because I train with him every day and I know what he can do. I was sure that if it wasn’t this year, it would be the next. Now we want to keep going.”

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.