That relentless pursuit of excellence, attention to detail as well as sportsmanship and hard graft are values that helped Ferrero become world No.1 and are the principles behind the philosophy at the heart of his academy.

While many of his peers can still be seen on the professional circuit as TV commentators and coaching on the professional tour, former world No.1 Ferrero is content to stay closer to home.

So close in fact, that he lives on site at the academy in Spain that bears his name. The JC Ferrero Equelite Sport Academy in Villena is the training base for world No.49 Pablo Carreno Busta as well as a host of promising young juniors players from across Europe.

Not even Rafael Nadal can boast that an academy was set up for his own benefit, but Equelite was built in 1995 by Ferrero’s coach Antonio Martinez Cascales to provide training facilities for Ferrero and other local juniors.

In those days, it was just a handful of tennis courts, but thanks to Ferrero, who invested in the academy while he was still on tour, it is now a world-class academy that boasts some of the best facilities for current professionals and aspiring juniors alike.

Under the guidance of Martinez, co-founder Samuel Lopez and Ferrero, 50 full-time aspiring professionals aged 13 to 18 benefit from the experience of the former French Open champion as they hope to follow in his footsteps from Villena to Grand Slam glory.

“Humility and hard work,” says Ferrero, who lifted the Davis Cup with Spain on three occasions. “That's the only key.”

Ferrero, who won 16 ATP titles and spent eight weeks at world No.1 after winning the French Open in 2003, has a very hand-on approach. The 36-year-old lives at the academy and gets out on court most days.

“I live here and I take breakfast everyday here,” he explains. “I´m on the courts a lot of the time. When I can I´m always glad to help our players who want to improve.”

Situated 30 minutes’ drive from Alicante an one hour from Valencia, the academy also offers summer programmes and opens its doors to other players to train for shorter periods of time. The summer camps are open to players aged eight to 16.  The youngsters stay on-site and benefit from the technical, physical and medical expertise available to the full-time athletes.