French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero knows he will get a lot of fan support when he returns to Victoria Park for next week's Watsons Water Champions Challenge. The last time he played at Victoria Park, the crowd cheered him as the champion. The 23-year-old Spaniard makes his eagerly awaited return to the scene of one of his previous triumphs as he takes centre court in a men's singles field that also includes Wimbledon champion Roger Federer, French Open finalist, Martin Verkerk of the Netherlands and Belarus' Max Mirnyi. Ferrero last triumphed at Victoria Park when he defeated fellow countryman Carlos Moya in the final of the now-defunct Salem Open in 2002. 'Every time I go to Hong Kong, I see a lot of people like me a lot. I know I have many fans there, so that's why I play good in Hong Kong. It's nice to be coming back,' said the world number three. Ferrero said he was looking forward to playing in the Watsons event - his first tournament of 2004. The tournament will also give him the rare opportunity to partner Russian teenage sensation, Maria Sharapova, in mixed doubles. 'I think it will be a beautiful tournament. I never play mixed doubles. I think it will be fun to play and fun for the people to watch. I have been practising so hard and I think I am going to be in good shape for the exhibition,' he said. The Spanish star will have to get past Verkerk - whom he conquered in last year's final at Roland Garros - in his first-round match in Hong Kong. Apart from his French Open victory over Verkerk, he also beat the Dutchman in the last 16 on clay in Kitzbuhel, Austria in 2002. Last year was a particularly good one for Ferrero. Not only did he win the French Open and reach the final of the US Open, he also held the number one world ranking briefly after reaching the US Open final, where he lost to American Andy Roddick. Ferrero also led Spain to the final of the Davis Cup against Australia last year. Ferrero said he wants to win more Grand Slams and become the all-round player on three surfaces - clay, hardcourt and grass. 'Of course I want to play good on different surfaces, not only on clay. When I was younger, I never thought of improving on grass because there were no grass courts in Spain. I think I can play on all surfaces,' said Ferrero. Asked what is more important to him, winning Grand Slam titles, or regaining his world number one ranking, he replied 'It is also more important to win the Grand Slams [than to attain world number one] because I was number one before. If you win more Grand Slams, you should get the number one place. 'It was hard to lose that number one ranking, [to American Andy Roddick] but I wasn't so sad. I see there are three or four players who can be number one. We are very close [in points]. It's normal that we share number one.' For now, Ferrero will be hoping to play well in Hong Kong, which will act as a warm-up for the upcoming Australian Open. 'It is difficult to say what are my chances at the Australian Open because it is one of the first tournaments I will be competing in this year. 'I played very well in Australia before so I will try to match my previous performances,' said Ferrero, a quarter-finalist in Australia last year.