Alice Ferlito and her opportunity at Princeton

Every year thousands of young people dream of having the opportunity to experience living in the United States in order to forge a tennis career and play with a top team in the University League.  It is important to note that even for some ATP and WTA players, this experience allows them to mature for the professional circuit …

But how do you get a scholarship at a TOP university? What does a player have to do to stand out, be selected and achieve their dream of becoming a professional tennis player?

After graduating in 2023 from Emilio Sanchez Academy & American School, our alumni, Alice Ferlito, is fulfilling her dream. Alice is studying and competing at Princeton, in one of the most outstanding universities in the world.

While the numbers give us some idea of one´s journey, often the stories can offer us a broader and more detailed vision of the sacrifice and effort required to achieve those goals.

Fifteen years ago, Alice Ferlito first encountered tennis when she enrolled in our summer program. She was hooked after just a few weeks of tennis and decided to enroll in our school with tennis as an extracurricular activity.

Little by little, Alice´s passion for tennis motivated her to compete in both local tournaments and national tournaments, where she rapidly improved her results and began to stand out.

At one tournament, our CEO and founder, Emilio Sanchez Vicario, spoke to Alice about her great potential and shared a message that she would remember forever:

“Emilio, after a tournament, I remember he spoke to me and told me, you have talent, you have strong qualities, so you have to train, work hard. If you make that effort, I’m sure you will stand out,” Alice recalls with excitement.

Alice especially loved competing and points out: “I remember playing in a final, winning it, and that incomparable feeling, which I can hardly describe in words, that made me go through my body with that special feeling, and that got me hooked on competing”.

Through her achievements, she was rapidly growing in her tennis career and progressed from the extracurricular program to the Academy´s annual program, where she combined tennis and studies at the highest level. This implied increasingly demanding competitions, with team championships, championships in Spain, ITF, Tennis Europe…

2019 Runner-up Infantil Catalonia

Champion teams Infantil Catalonia

2021 Champion cadet Catalonia

ITF ranking 2021: 1829. 2023: 356 … J4 Nairobi ITF Junior Champion … J4 Tarragona … Spain ITF Junior Champion … J3 Barcelona ITF Junior Finalist … J5 Limassol Doubles Champion … J4 Nairobi Doubles Champion … J4 Tarragona Doubles Champion … J4 Les Franqueses del Valles, Spain Doubles Champion … J200 Cap D’Ail Doubles Champion

Surely, you may be asking yourself- at such a young age, how did Alice, like other student-athletes, manage all of these demanding commitments? She shares that it is her values learned during her journey at ESA that made all the difference: “values such as respect, hard work, discipline, resilience, in short, giving my maximum effort on every occasion, because you never know what the final result will be”.

Her coach since her beginnings at ES Academy, Alvaro Pino, summarizes Alice’s profile by highlighting that “Alice is one of the people I know who has liked and loves tennis the most. In fact, her character is so perfectionist, so we worked hard to establish specific goals”

“I always tried to motivate her and make her understand that achieving goals involved accepting and combining days when you have a lot of motivation and others when perhaps not. And the score it´s not the most important. Although it is true that she had great results in championships in Catalonia,” adds Alvaro.

From the tactical point of view, “the development pathway was fundamentally based on her game pattern, being a player with a vocation to dominate the points, attack, she had to understand that part of the game was to accept situations in which first you need to defend, to take the initiative again.”

About her stay at the University, Alvaro highlights that he speaks weekly with her coach “for Alice earning a position on the team, having that responsibility on the team, helps a lot in maturity, and  she is a player who likes to make her team proud of”.

Her passion for tennis was endless, but there was a key moment in her journey when the Academy decided to grant her a scholarship to support her in reaching her potential. As it turns out, those qualities of success that Emilio Sanchez had identified years before had come to fruition, and it was now time to help her in the following stages ….

Alice was based at our headquarters in Barcelona, but she also visited Florida in the summer and toured universities throughout the United States during her time there. Coincidentally, one stay in Florida coincided with the visit of a university tennis team, who offered Alice to train and live with them. Alice´s determination, enthusiasm for tennis, and values made quite an impact, and at the end of the team´s stay, she received a call from the coach, who was none other than the Head Tennis Coach at Princeton University…

Video story by Victoria Sánchez:

Now, Alice continues to write her own story in university and is building a future full of opportunities after her time at Emilio Sanchez Academy & American School.

By Daniel Muñoz Pozo. Communications & Media ES Academy

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