David Ferrer Credits The ‘Big Four’ Of Tennis For Helping Him Elevate His Game - UBITENNIS
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David Ferrer Credits The ‘Big Four’ Of Tennis For Helping Him Elevate His Game

The Spanish veteran speaks out about what it has been like for him playing alongside Roger Federer and co.

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As David Ferrer approaches the end of his tennis career, the Spaniard believes part of his success in the sport has been helped by rivals such as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

 

The 36-year-old is set to officially retire in May at the Madrid Open. Ending a career that has spanned almost 20 years. Ferrer has been ranked as high as third in the world and has won 27 titles on the ATP Tour. He is one of only four active players to have won over 700 matches on the tour. On the clay, he has recorded 331 victories. The second highest amount on the tour after 11-time French Open champion Nadal.

It could be argued that Ferrer’s achievement has been overshadowed during the era of the Big Four. A group of players that have dominated men’s tennis in recent years. The group features Federer, Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. The closest he came to a grand slam title was runner-up at the French Open.

“If it had not been the Big Four I would not have been number 3 in the world, because I would not have improved.” Ferrer said during an interview with La Nacion.
“I saw Roger and Rafa, then Novak and Murray came, and I always tried that the things that they did well, I could fit them, in my style, of course. And that helped me. Especially with Rafa and Toni Nadal, talking a lot with them.”

2013 was the year where the Spaniard peaked at his ranking high. During that season he claimed two trophies and finished in the year-end top three for the first and only time in his career. Although 2013 wasn’t completely perfect for Ferrer.

“I went to the Masters (ATP Finals) in London and I did not win any matches because I ended up tired. I came from playing the final of Paris-Bercy, I got home in Valencia, I saw the ranking, I saw myself as No. 3, but that day I was very sad because I could not play well in London.” He explained.
“That’s why I say that if I could change something in my career it would be to enjoy every moment. Being a nonconformist at a certain stage of my career has left me wounded.”

Ferrer has a win-loss record of 17-72 against the big four. The only member he has never beaten is Federer, who has won all 17 of their meetings on the tour. The Swiss player is currently the second oldest player in the top 100 after Ivo Karlovic.

“He has something different from the others.” Ferrer said of Federer. “Anticipates the play, has a better eye than the opponent. And he physically moves perfectly, has worked hard, but has a natural talent and was born to play tennis.”

Ferrer Vs Big Four
Federer – 0 wins, 17 loses
Djokovic – 5 wins, 16 losses
Murray – 6 wins, 14 losses
Nadal – 6 wins, 25 loses

The era of the Big Four is approaching its climax. Murray has also admitted that he may soon be forced to retire from the sport due to an hip injury. Meanwhile, the other three are in their 30s. Speaking about when the quartet will leave the sport, Ferrer admits that there will be a big hole left on the tour.

“It will be different because they have given glory to the sport, they have improved it in many aspects and they have given a very good example to society.” He said.

Ferrer will continue his farewell tour next week at the Argentina Open in Buenos Aires. A tournament he won three times in a row between 2012-2014.

Five facts about Ferrer’s career

1. He has finished seven seasons ranked inside the top 10 (2007, 2010-2015)
2. Spent more than 13 years continuously ranked in the top 50 (7/2/05 – 22/7/18)
3. Has played in 52 ATP finals, winning 27 of those.
4. Achieved 20 or more victories in 15 straight seasons (2003-2017)
5. Played in 50 consecutive grand slam main draws before missing the 2015 Wimbledon Championships due to injury. Overall, he has played in the main draw of 63 grand slams.

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Intriguing Team-Ups Lure Eyes Doubles’ Way. Will They Stay For The Problems, Too?

Will the recent surge in high-profile double partnerships have any impact on the long term future of the discipline?

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Cincinnati Open, Western and Southern Open, Andy Murray, Feliciano Lopez
Photo Credit: ATP Tour Twitter

In one of his press conferences at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, Andy Murray said he would not be playing the US Open. His announcement came a day or so after his initial declaration that he would be playing only the two doubles events in the final Major of the season. A few things came out of Murray’s remarks. The first and the obvious was that the former world no. 1 was ready to give it his all (yet again) to play singles. The second, the understated aspect, was that doubles while seeming easy vis-à-vis singles required just as much focus, if not more. Then, there was a third.

 

In tennis’ continuity though, the relevance of the doubles game is not a recent epiphany. However, the last few tournaments of the 2019 season that featured some eclectic partnerships – Stefanos Tsitispas and Nick Kyrgios, Andy Murray and Feliciano Lopez, the Pliskova twins, Andy and Jamie Murray, and so on – has made doubles slightly more prominent than singles.

Singles has become monotonous with the same set of players making it to the final rounds. On the other hand, doubles has brought in more verve to the existing status quo of the Tour, with each player’s individuality adding to the dynamics of the team. After his first outing as Kyrgios’ doubles partner at the Citi Open in Washington in July, Tsitsipas pointed this out.

“It’s the joy of being with a person who thinks differently and reacts differently. I would characterise him (Kyrgios) as someone who likes to amuse. I’m very serious and concentrated when I play, but he just has the style of speaking all the time. It’s good sometimes to have a change,” the Greek had said.

These changes – as seen with Murray’s recent decision – may not extend for a longer period. The culmination of these short-term team-ups does – and should – not mean the end of the road of doubles piquing attention, per se. At the same time, these transitory partnerships also reroute the discussion back to the financial side of the doubles game.

In a recent interview with Forbes, Jamie Murray – a doubles specialist – shared how conducive it had become for players to take up doubles as the sole means of a tennis career these days, as compared to in the past.

“Because the money is always increasing in tennis, it is a much more viable option to go down the doubles route a lot earlier than previous generations. Before, people would play singles and then when their ranking dropped, they played an extra few years of doubles. Now it is a genuine option to start off much younger and have a career in doubles,” the 33-year-old said.

Despite Murray’s upbeat attitude, these increases have not exactly trickled towards doubles, especially at the Slams including the upcoming edition of the US Open. For 2019, the USTA showed-off yet another hike in the prize-money coffer. The men’s and women’s singles champions will be awarded $3.8 million. In comparison, the men’s and women’s doubles teams winning the respective title will get $740,000. This sum gets further diluted for the mixed-doubles’ titlists who will get $160,000 as a team.

This is the third and final takeaway that emerged from Murray’s US Open call. For several of these singles players, intermittent doubles play is an option. For those who play only doubles, that is the only option they have. The doubles game requires similar effort – travel, expenses and fitness – the costs continue to outweigh the benefits. These momentary team formations are a gauge revealing the disparity of tennis’ two sides, visible yet obliviated beyond tokenism.

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Svetlana Kuznetsova upsets Ashleigh Barty in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career

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Russian wild card Svetlana Kuznetsova edged top seed this year’s Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty 6-2 6-4 in the semifinal of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career.

 

Two-time Grand Slam champion Kuznetsova, who is now ranked world number 153, scored her third win against top 10 players this week  after beating former US Open champion Sloane Stephens and Karolina Pliskova.

Barty missed her chance to regain world number 1 spot from Naomi Osaka, who was forced to retire from her quarter final.

Barty earned the first break of the match in the second game of the opening set, when Kuznetsova netted a backhand. Kuznetsova broke back in the third game with a smash winner and earned another break at 2-2 when Barty netted a backhand. Kuznetsova hit a return winner to build up a 5-2 lead. Barty asked a medical time-out to treat he right leg. Kuznetsova held serve at 15 to close out the opening set after 30 minutes.

Kuznetsova went up a break in the first game of the second set. Barty won just three points on return in the second set. Kuznetsova closed out the second set with three winners in the 10th game.

“I am really happy. I am not really an analyzing person, but on my intuition, I am doing so much better, not repeating so many of my mistakes, just playing smarter and wiser now. It’s been so many different things when I was off, so I just enjoyed time off. Honestly, I was not missing at all the travelling and all the stress when you play tournaments, but now I have missed it and I feel good. I feel joy staying here and being here. It definitely helped me to have some time off to see other things outside tennis”, said Kuznetsova.

 

Kuznetsova set up a final against Madison Keys, who beat Sofia Kenin in straight sets. The Russian 34-year-old veteran player has qualified for her first final since last year, when she beat Donna Vekic in Washington.

 

“Madison is extremely tough. When she is on fire, it is really hard to play against her. It’s going to be a difficult match-up”, said Kuznetsova.  

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David Goffin reaches his first Masters 1000 in Cincinnati

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David Goffin beat Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-4 on an overcast afternoon to reach the first Masters 1000 final of his career and his 13th title match at ATP Tour level at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. Goffin has dropped just one set en route to the final.

 

Goffin is returning to his best form this summer under the guidance of former Swedish player Thomas Johansson. He reached the final in Halle and his first quarter final at Wimbledon. He received a walkover after Yoshihito Nishioka was forced to withdraw from the match due to food poisoning.

The Belgian player started the match with two consecutive holds before breaking at love to open up a 4-1 lead with a backhand winner down the line.

Goffin held his next service games to seal the opening set 6-3. Gasquet earned an early break to open  2-0 lead, but Goffin won five of the next six games with two breaks. The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up served out the win at love in the 10th game after 1 hour and 16 minutes, as Gasquet sent his backhand long.

Goffin reached the semifinal in Cincinnati last year, but he was forced to retire due to an arm injury.

“I am very happy. It’s a tournament I like and I have played the best tennis in the past few years. I am really happy to reach my first Masters 1000 final here. It’s a great moment for me.”

 

 

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