After becoming the youngest Tica (Costa Rican) to enter the world tennis ranking, Nicole Alfaro, 14, prepares day by day with her father and coach, Fred Alfaro, to fulfill one of her dreams: play professionally and reach the Grand Slam tournaments, also called majors.

Nicole Alfaro began her career at only seven years of age and now has the sponsorship of GBM and Yonex, among others. Javier Carvajal / The Republic

“I want to play Grand Slams, study at a university in another country and play professionally, that’s my wish in the future,” said Nicole, who at her young age reached fourth place as the best tennis athlete in Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

While other young people of her age attend school, Alfaro studies online from home at “Abeka Academy” based in Pensacola, Florida; In addition, studies English and Portuguese online.

The online studies allow Nicole to adjust her training schedules, which are around five hours a day from Monday to Friday, with competitions on Saturdays and Sundays.

“In Costa Rica she has had an impeccable trajectory, she participates very often outside the country and these experiences have helped her to professionalize, it is the best way in which an athlete can achieve a better position and is competing outside the country,” said the coach and father of the young woman

In addition, she has two hours of mental coaching a week with an online instructor, who is in Spain and belonging to the Spanish Tennis Federation.

Currently, Nicole is playing in a series of tournaments that will prepare her for the Copa América 2019, which will be held from December 9 to 13 in Orlando, Florida.

This contest is played by the best rackets between 14 and 16 years of age.

And while the International Tennis Federation (ITF) does not give points for the world ranking, in case the Tica advances, it could win a tour of South America and Europe, where she will have “coaching” from the best ITF coaches.

“Each tour means US$20,000, so if Nicole does well, it’s a great prize. This year they have a good team, the tournament is played in pairs and Nicole will play with the number one in the area, a Mexican, and although it is difficult to win, if they reach the semifinals, the chances of winning the tours are high,” said Nicole’s dad.