Last week I suggested that David Ferrer was a tennis player to watch out for at the Australian Open. As the tournament progresses I still think this is a fair call, especially as Ferrer probably has his best chance ever of making at least the semis, if not the final.
So far Ferrer’s run at the Open has been good with perhaps his poorest game coming in the second round against American Tim Symczek, where he dropped the third set after letting Symczek get some momentum in the second. Since that minor blip, and let’s be honest that’s exactly what it was, Ferrer’s form has been pretty good. He stated after his fourth round match against Japan’s Kei Nishikori that he’s playing the best tennis he’s ever played at the Australian Open, a great sign for his Quarter Final match against fellow Spaniard, and tenth seed Nicolas Almagro – who incidentally has never beaten Ferrer in twelve attempts.
What I perhaps didn’t clearly illustrate in my last piece is exactly what it is I like about Ferrer’s game.
Ferrer’s game is not at all a power game. The 5’9’’ Spaniard doesn’t serve a lot over 190km/h and as some of you reminded me last week, his renowned fitness is not enough to get him a Grand Slam, but there are plenty out there who would like to see him win one, and I am one of them.
What I love most of all about Ferrer’s game is his constant grinding away at the ball. He is even nicknamed ‘The Grinder’, amongst other nicknames. Ferrer covers the court in a way that few others can, but he does not merely run a ball down. He runs the ball down and returns it over the net only to make his opponent run for the next shot. There is one thing you can guarantee from a David Ferrer match and that is that he makes his opponent work for every shot. This is what, for me makes Ferrer such a great tennis player to watch.
There is also his consistency. Yes, he can’t match the top three but his record against Murray is 5-6 in Murray’s favour. Not too bad. He also consistently beats those ranked below him, hence, his number five ranking, which will most likely move to four with Rafa not contesting this year’s Open.
His campaign is also being helped by a favourable draw. He will be a favourite against Almagro and there is every chance that after Djokovich’s marathon five setter last night, Tomas Berdych may be fresher and able to overcome the defending champion. It will require Berdych to play the game of his life, but it could happen. Ferrer is 6-3 up on Berdych although Berdych has only beaten Djokovich once and that was in 2010 at Wimbledon.
Of course this is all hypothetical. Ferrer does first of all need to get past Almagro but there is the potential to see David Ferrer go to the last day of the tournament. Can he win it? I would love him to but as I think he’ll probably meet Djokovich in the semis and if he did get to the final he’ll probably meet Federer, who he has never beaten, it is a big ask. But there is always hope and whatever happens David Ferrer will remain one of my favourite players on the tour.
Published on www.theroar.com.au 22/1/13