A trio of Spanish Grand Slam champions – Rafael Nadal, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Conchita Martinez – may be behind the rise of Pablo Carreno Busta.
The 25-year-old, who will crack the top 20 on Monday after reaching the Indian Wells semifinals, paid tribute to all three when speaking to the media after his win over Pablo Cuevas on Thursday.
“Rafa is a really good friend. And I think he helped me a lot. Not just in the doubles here in Indian Wells. We played doubles in Beijing last year,” he said.
“I was sparring at the Davis Cup when Rafa plays in Madrid against Ukraine. And he helped me a lot always, no? I practiced with him a lot of times and I think it’s really good for me to be near him, because he’s one of the best players of the history, and I am lucky to can be near him.”
The influence of Nadal is not the only factor Carreno Busta credits as being behind his recent rise.
A new team – which came together when Carreno Busta joined the tennis academy of former world No.1 and Roland Garros champion Ferrero, one of his idols growing up – is also having a positive impact.
“We work so hard about to be focused all the time, to be very aggressive, to try to dominate all the points. They helped me a lot all the time during this year and a half, working with them,” he said.
“When I start with them, Samuel (Lopez) and Cesar (Fabregas) teach me how to be tough mentally like this, and maybe Juan Carlos Ferrero helped me a lot also. I think they are working very good with me, very hard. And when you play matches and you have more experience finally, no, you are best player, no?”
Carreno Busta also pointed to the support he felt from Martinez, a former WTA world No.2 and Wimbledon champion in 1994 who took over the Spanish Davis Cup captaincy in July 2015.
He hoped to fit Davis Cup into his schedule a few weeks after Indian Wells.
“I have next week Miami. And then we’ll see because there is Davis Cup in Serbia. We play in Serbia outside. I don’t know just the team,” he said.
“But if Captain Conchita comes with me, of course I will go.
“When I play in Croatia this year, I feel the pressure, I feel the Davis Cup feeling, and I think it was so different. It was amazing, of course, because we won. But when I lost the first match, I need to coming back again … and I played the most important match of the tournament with 2-All.
“I won this match, I think, because Conchita and my team, Samuel and Cesar, believe in me and I believe in myself.”
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