After a career spanning over 19 years, the tennis world said farewell to one of the greatest players of its current generation. Former World Number 3 David Ferrer ended his career in Madrid this week after losing in the second round to 4th seed Alexander Zverev in an emotional farewell match.
David Ferrer had an exceptional career in which he won 27 ATP titles, including the Paris Masters, 4 Acapulco titles, 4 titles in Auckland and 3 in his hometown of Valencia. Ferrer also helped guide Spain to 3 Davis Cup finals, as well as reaching 1 Grand Slam final, 6 Grand Slam semi-finals and an astonishing 17 Grand Slam quarter finals. What makes these numbers even more impressive, is the fact that Ferrer managed to achieve this in the era of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
Accolades aside, Ferrer was well known for his tenacity and fighting spirit. You would never see him give up on a point, regardless of the score, and you would never see him show any fear. He was simply not the sort of man to be intimidated by any opponent. He holds an unrivalled amount of respect from his fellow professionals, something which was clear in his retirement ceremony, in which many other greats paid tribute to his fantastic career, including Nadal and Federer. He was rightfully known as the hardest working man on tour, which was perhaps the reason Ferrer retired when he did, as he knew he could no longer keep the level of intensity up after the birth of his first child.
Ferrer’s strongest surface was clay, and it was unfortunate for him that he played in the same generation as undoubtedly the greatest clay courter of all time, Rafa Nadal. It was Nadal who beat Ferrer in his only Grand Slam final in Roland Garros in 2013, but Nadal also stood in Ferrer’s way in many important matches. However, Ferrer still notched 6 wins against Nadal and 5 wins against Novak Djokovic.
However, the statistic that really shows what David Ferrer was all about, was the fact that he recorded a whopping 54 wins against players ranked inside the top 10. It shows that even in a generation with players like Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, Murray and Wawrinka, Ferrer remained more than competitive. He is widely considered the best player not to have won a Grand Slam, and I personally have no doubts that Ferrer would be a multiple Grand Slam champion had he been on tour 10 years earlier. Ferrer’s 734 tour level match wins ranks 12thbest of all time, ahead of the likes of Boris Becker, Andy Murray, Arthur Ashe and Bjorn Borg.
Ferrer has said he will take a well-earned rest for the rest of the year, but would like to get back into tennis afterwards, be it as a coach, commentator or tournament organiser. He will be sorely missed by all players and fans, not just for his personality, but also for his ability to keep the top players honest. In the last 10 years, only 5 of 41 Grand Slams have been won by players not in the so-called Big 4, and that era of Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray dominance is still going, the latest development being Djokovic’s title in Madrid this week. Without consistent performers like Ferrer, it won’t be possible to stop these players dominating up until the day they retire. But for now, we can thank Ferrer for all he’s done, and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavours. Gracias Ferru!
Written by Emre Saridogan