Ferrer's Career Reflections: 'I Tried To Give My All'
The Spaniard takes a look back at his best moments on the ATP Tour
David Ferrer is hanging up his racquet at the 2019 Mutua Madrid Open after a stunning career: former World No. 3, 27 ATP Tour titles — including the 2012 Rolex Paris Masters — three Davis Cups, 2013 Roland Garros finalist, Australian Open (2011, 2013) and US Open (2007, 2012) semi-finalist, a quarter-finalist at Wimbledon (2012-13) and a runner-up finish at the 2007 Nitto ATP Finals. It is, without a doubt, one of the best careers in the history of Spanish tennis. The Javea native has also earned the respect of his peers, including Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray.
Ferrer says that the ambition and drive of the quartet made him a better player. Of his compatriot Nadal, Ferrer admitted, “Rafa has been a mirror for me. Although he is younger and joined the tour later, I’ve learned from him. Winning a tournament and winning it again. Winning at Roland Garros, going to Queen’s [in London] and winning again… That showed me that when you win a tournament it’s not enough, you have to keep going. That helped me reach World No. 3 and to have the consistency I did.
“If I hadn’t seen those players, if I’d been with the other kind of players that I witnessed at the start of my career, I wouldn’t have been such a good player,” he added. “Federer would change the pace and drive me crazy. Maybe I made him sweat like many players, but I never had the chance to beat him.”
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Of course, the peak of Ferrer’s career came in 2013 at Roland Garros, a bittersweet and also memorable fortnight to the final against Nadal. “I never had a chance,” Ferrer recalled. “I’m not blaming anyone, but my motivation for that match was not the best. I went onto court a little distressed. And that’s normal because it was my first final, it’s logical. Anyway, maybe in those moments we were none the wiser. Neither I, nor my team, had a better idea of how to approach the match. We did what we could.”
Another near miss, which Ferrer struggles to forget came at the All England Club, Wimbledon, in partnership with his great friend, Feliciano Lopez, during the 2012 Olympics. A 6-3, 4-6, 18-16 semi-final loss to the French team of Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and Michael Llodra left them exhausted and, ultimately, without a bronze medal. “We were both in the locker room and it was so hard,” remembers Ferrer. “We were playing so well. And that match, at 0/40… We were the better side for the whole match and it really hurt us. If we’d lost an easy match, I think we’d have had a better chance of winning the bronze. But it was so hard mentally. The next day was very difficult.”
At the end of an exceptional career, the universally admired and fierce competitor will cherish his close friendships with fellow Spaniards, former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero and Roberto Bautista Agut. “Juan Carlos opened his doors to me and offered advice. We were very close. It’s something I’ll be eternally grateful for. It’s similar to what I feel now with Roberto Bautista. Juan Carlos taught me to help a young player. We got on well and he gave me the chance to be with him at the Valencia tournament. I have a lot of respect and affection for him, he’s a person I’ll always be grateful to. If there’s one thing I regret, it’s not having taken the step of working with him at certain points of my career.” Ferrer also expresses his admiration of Carlos Moya and Sergi Bruguera, Albert Costa and Alex Corretja, in addition to his friendships with Feliciano, Marc Lopez, Nadal and Bautista Agut.
In reflection, Ferrer is more than satisfied. “I can only say that I haven’t won a Grand Slam because I wasn’t able to. I tried to give my all, but I wouldn’t exchange places with players that have won one. There are players that have one Grand Slam and have only played one or two Masters finals. I’ve played in seven, I’m the third player in the history of Spain to win 734 matches – 12th on the ATP Tour match wins list (since 1972). My tennis life has been very good. I felt good about myself for many years of my career.”
Ferrer never lost the most valuable trait of all: humility. He will be missed.