David Ferrer Ern

Born: April 2, 1982 in Xàbia (Valencia)
Height: 1.75 m
Plays: Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
Making a parallel to the 90s, he was akin to Michael Chang among players born in the 1980s; given his height, sturdy legs, and tremendous will to fight. Ferrer once stated “I’m the weakest player in the Top 100”; albeit he exaggerated, as he made this claim while already being a Top 30 player, having defeated i.a. Andre Agassi. There may be a convincing argument to his statement; namely, he believed he lacked a serious weapon. Nevertheless since he appeared on the tour, he was known for his fast movement and persistence during physically demanding rallies (reached his first ATP final already in his second event at this level, Umag ’02). He was the type of player you had to stay focused at all time to beat him; a young Andy Murray experienced it in Toronto ’06, narrowly avoiding disaster by saving a set point to survive 6-2, 7-6 earlier leading 5:0 in the 2nd set! Tennis isn’t just about the serve speed or generating enormous topspin; it’s also about handling various adverse circumstances like brutal weather, complex progress of a match, different styles of fellow contestants, challenges Ferrer embraced through hard work off the court and resilience. His technical limitations meant he struggled against a genius like Roger Federer, evidenced by their 17-0 head-to-head record (Masters ’07 it’s their most important match), with Ferrer never coming close to victory. However, against the other greatest players of the 21st Century, Ferrer engaged in balanced matches characterized by long rallies, earning respect all over the world for his dedication and fighting spirit. Ferrer not only defeated Rafael Nadal, Novak Đoković, and Murray, each of them several times, but also did so in the ‘best of five’ format. Nadal experienced this painfully when Ferrer crushed him 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 in the Aussie Open quarterfinal ’11, halting Nadal’s bid for a fourth consecutive major title. Though one could argue Nadal wasn’t at full fitness, Ferrer deserves credit for his composure which gave him the arguably most satisfactory victory. Nonetheless, over many years Nadal remained Ferrer’s toughest rival as far as clay courts are concerned. They faced each other in three significant finals on that surface, and Nadal always emerged victorious in straight sets, including the French Open ’13 final.
Defeating Nadal in a major match (US Open ’07) marked a turning point in Ferrer’s career. Following that victory, with improved volleys & serve, he climbed from the Top 20 to the Top 10, remaining there almost permanently until 2015, a remarkable feat considering his modest height. Ferrer’s successful career challenged the notion that a player of his stature couldn’t excel in the 2000s; he remained at the top even into the 2010s, forming a solid “second big 4” alongside Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (3-1 H2H; their most memorable meeting comes from the French Open ’13 semifinal), Juan Martín del Potro (H2H, 6-7), and Tomáš Berdych (H2H, 8-8), as indicated by their head-to-head records against the Big 4 at the time.
Was Ferrer the fifth-best player of his era, in the late 00s/early 10s? That’s up for debate. While his firepower may suggest otherwise comparing to the taller players mentioned above, he won one significant title (Berdych did the same) and contributed more than any of them to Davis Cup triumphs (thrice, once defeating Del Potro in a very important rubber of the ’11 final). While clay (outdoors) was Ferrer’s best surface, his most significant wins, two in the Davis Cup finals (both after dramatic five-setters) and in the ‘Masters 1K’ final, came indoors. His biggest title, obtained at Paris-Bercy ’12, isn’t well remembered, because he defeated in the last two matches, players ranked much lower [Michaël Llodra 121, Jerzy Janowicz 69] who achieved their best results at this level then. Ferrer’s big crisis finally came at thirty-six in 2018 when he had a poor 9-18 record on the tour. That year, he played his arguably two tightest five-setters: first, he scored a win over other veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6, 3-6, 7-6, 4-6, 7-5 in the Davis Cup, and then he lost in uncharacteristic manner to Jaume Munar 6-3, 6-3, 6-7, 6-7, 5-7 at Roland Garros. Munar (b. 1997) appeared poised to succeed Ferrer to some extent as a Spanish grinder among the NextGen players (the term introduced in the late 10s), but his performance in the following seasons has not lived up to expectations.
Admittedly, Ferrer had an awful record against Federer, but was tremendous against fellow Spaniard Nicolás Almagro. Ferrer defeated him 15 times in a row, even coming back from trailing two sets to love and 3:5 in the third set (Australian Open ’13). Their matches underscore an uncomfortable truth for many: in tennis, the will to win and ambition often outweigh innate talent when it comes to achieving success.
Career record: 734–377 [ 391 events ]
Career titles: 27
Highest ranking: No. 3
Best GS results:
Australian Open (semifinal 2011 & 13; quarterfinal 2008, 12, 14 & 16)
Roland Garros (runner-up 2013; semifinal 2012; quarterfinal 2005, 2008, 2014-15)
Wimbledon (quarterfinal 2012-13)
US Open (semifinal 2007 & 12; quarterfinal 2013)
Davis Cup champion three times (2008-09, 2011)
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1 Response to David Ferrer Ern

  1. Voo de Mar says:
    Activity: 2002 – 2019

    Five-setters: 23–14 (62%)
    Tie-breaks: 170–159 (52%)
    Deciding 3rd set TB: 13-12 (52%)

    MP matches: 14-9
    Defeats by retirement: 8
    Walkovers given: 2

    Longest victory: Stuttgart-Out ’06 (F)… Jose Acasuso 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-5, 6-4… 5 hours 0 minutes
    Longest defeat: US Open ’10 (4R)… Fernando Verdasco 7-5, 7-6, 3-6, 3-6, 6-7… 4 hours 23 minutes

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