Skip to content
Emilio Sanchez Academy's Alice Ferlito explains how she made it to Princeton

Emilio Sanchez Academy's Alice Ferlito explains how she made it to Princeton

Every year thousands of young international players dream of the opportunity to experience living in the U.S. in order to eventually play tennis at a top university. For many ATP and WTA players, this experience is a catalyst to allow them to mature properly for the challenges they'll face on the pro 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, Alice Ferlito is fulfilling her dream. Alice is studying and competing at Princeton, one of the most elite universities in the world.

Above: Alice Ferlito on the tennis team at Princeton. Source: Emilio Sanchez Academy.

Fifteen years ago, Ferlito first encountered tennis when she enrolled in the Emilio Sanchez Academy's summer program in Spain. She was hooked after just a few weeks of tennis and decided to enroll in the academy's school with tennis as an extracurricular activity.

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

At one tournament, Founder Emilio Sanchez spoke to Alice about her potential and shared a message with her that she would remember forever. “I remember he spoke to me and told me: you have talent, you have strong qualities, so you have to train, [and] work hard. If you make that effort, I’m sure you will stand out,” Alice recalls of her conversation with Sanchez.

“I remember playing in a final, winning it, and that incomparable feeling, which I can hardly describe in words... with that special feeling, and that got me hooked on competing," Alice says of her early tournament win.

Above: Alice Ferlito tells her story. Source: Emilio Sanchez Academy.

Through her achievements, she would grow and transition from the extracurricular program to the academy's annual program, where she combined tennis and studies at the highest level. This meant increasingly demanding competition in Spain including: 2019 Runner-up Infantil Catalonia; Champion teams Infantil Catalonia; 2021 Champion cadet Catalonia.

Ferlito's ranking improved and the wins in Spain continued, including: 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.

At such a young age, how did Alice manage all of these demanding commitments? She shares that it was the values learned during her time 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."

Above: Alice Ferlito practicing her forehand. Source: Emilio Sanchez Academy.

Her coach Alvaro Pino at ESA explains, “Alice is one of the people I know who has liked and loves tennis the most. In fact, her character is so [much a] 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.”

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

Alvaro notes that he speaks weekly with her Princeton coach. He adds, “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."

Above: Alice Ferlito's rapid improvement at the ES Academy. Source: Emilio Sanchez Academy.

Her passion for tennis was abundant, 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 next stage of her development.

Alice was based at the Emilio Sanchez Academy headquarters in Barcelona, but she also visited their Naples, Florida location in the summer and toured universities during her time there. Coincidentally, one stay in Florida coincided with the visit of a university tennis team, who offered Alice a chance 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.

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


Written by Daniel Muñoz Pozo, Communications & Media at Emilio Sanchez Academy. Source: Emilio Sanchez Academy.

Older Post
Newer Post

Shopping Cart

Announce discount codes, free shipping etc