I can’t wait for the Australian Open to start. I’m almost counting down the days. I say ‘almost’ because I do have all of January off and I definitely do not look forward to returning to work, but I am looking forward to getting to the Open as often has possible, especially to watch one of my favourite players, David Ferrer. Ferrer is a real work horse of the top ten and a player who is often forgotten about, nestled at number five in the world, between Nadal (4) and Berdych (6) in the ATP rankings.
So why do we so often forget about Spain’s second highest ranking player? I think the answer may lie in his preparation for the Open. Ferrer is the reigning champion at the Heineken Open NZ, an event he has won on three occasions. At this time of year, our tennis watching commitments, oscillate between the Hopman Cup and the Brisbane Open, before switching to the Sydney Open and the AAMI Classic at Kooyong. With practically no coverage on Australian TV (free to air anyway), Ferrer quietly slips under our tennis watching radar, but he shouldn’t. He’s a fantastic player to watch.
Widely regarded by his fellow professionals (Federer rates him as the best returner in the game), his dogged style of chasing every ball down and keeping the ball deep in play have ensured his consistent position in the top ten. He also had a fantastic 2012 winning seven titles and reaching at least the quarters in every Slam. He also won the Golden Swing in Latin America and won more matches than other player in 2012 (50 in all).
Ferrer is a shining example of the benefits of hard work and any young tennis player with aspirations of travelling the tennis circuit could learn so much from the Spaniard. Maybe even young guys already on the tour could pick up some tips (Tomic perhaps? This isn’t a dig, I do want to clarify that I am a huge Tomic fan and I do believe he has Top Ten potential, but some of Ferrer’s determination wouldn’t harm him at all.) Ferrer is one of the fittest men on the tour and his ability to run his opponents down has assured his consistent ranking. He’s also experiencing late career success along with Federer, (number 2) and Germany’s Tommy Haas who is truly a Renaissance man with a surge up the rankings to 21. Perhaps tennis is a sport with a longer lifespan than what we give it credit for?
So, will he win the Open? Probably not. Realistically, Djokovic and Federer will be stumbling blocks he probably won’t be able to get past. Ferrer doesn’t have the big fire power of these guys but with an injured Nadal and an always wobbling on the big stage Murray, he could see himself back at number four in the world and even in the final of the Australian Open come the last weekend of January. I will certainly be watching as many of Ferrer’s games as I can and I think you should too.
Published on www.theroar.com.au 7/1/13