The Peruvian: A Sparring Partner for the Nitto ATP Finals
Although Gonzalo Bueno may feel nervous inside, he doesn’t show it when he begins training with Carlos Alcaraz at the Pala Alpitour in Turin.
A Unique Learning Experience
On Saturday morning, just one day before the start of the Nitto ATP Finals, the 19-year-old Peruvian, ranked 378th in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, joins the tournament as one of the sparring partners. Bueno has already trained with notable players such as Holger Rune, Jannik Sinner, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Alcaraz himself. It is an invaluable opportunity for growth.
“Nerves? Yes, of course,” Bueno responds to ATPTour.com with a laugh, his shirt soaked with sweat after training with the world No. 2. “And even more nerves when playing with someone who has won two Grand Slams. If I had to play with Djokovic, it would be even worse… But once you get into the rhythm and feel the adrenaline, you loosen up a bit. I think it went quite well.”
A Thrilling Training Session
Accompanied by his coach Pato Reynoso, Bueno completes a rigorous 45-minute training session with Alcaraz. Both players push themselves to the limit, exchanging intense shots that the Peruvian handles with ease. His purpose in Turin is to prepare the world’s best players, and he fulfills it admirably.
“It has been an incredible experience,” Bueno acknowledges. “The speed at which Carlos accelerates his forehand is astonishing. I’ve been looking forward to training with him ever since we played in the same World Cup when I was 14. Seeing him here now is truly spectacular. Carlos and his entire team are down-to-earth and approachable. We even reminisced about the World Cup. He’s a great guy.”
A Valuable Learning Opportunity
Beyond training with Alcaraz, Bueno is immersed in a few days of invaluable learning. These experiences provide him with confidence, knowledge, and countless hours of tennis alongside the ATP Tour’s elite.
“This is an incredible experience for me,” Bueno expresses. “I feel like I’m learning so much here, and it gives me extra motivation for the upcoming tournaments at the end of the year. Opportunities like this are rare, so I truly appreciate it.”
A Dream for the Future
“Being here this week with the top eight players of the year, sharing their experiences, having my own locker room, and enjoying the restaurant… it’s all very new to me, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it,” Bueno shares.
Bueno has witnessed examples of sparring partners who eventually participated in the Nitto ATP Finals. Holger Rune, for instance, served as a sparring partner in London 2019 and now, in 2023, he qualifies for the tournament.
After his week in Turin as a sparring partner, Bueno will focus on the final stretch of his 2023 season. Then, he will set his sights on 2024, with a red-marked goal already in mind.
“We haven’t met with the team yet, but it would be a great dream to compete in the Grand Slams,” confesses the Peruvian. “I’m very close, and it would be a dream come true to play in the main draw of a major. For now, my focus is on qualifying, and we’ll see what happens.”