Often hailed as the best tennis player to never win a Grand Slam, it’s impossible to fully contextualise David Ferrer’s achievements without mentioning the ‘Big Four’.
The scrappy Spaniard will retire after this year’s Madrid Open, taking one last bow to close what’s been a wonderful career.
Although the end is in sight, Ferrer has shown signs in the last few months that he will not go down without a fight this week at the Caja Magica.
Recent wins for the 37-year-old came against world No. 3 Alexander Zverev and seasoned ATP stars Lucas Pouille and Sam Querrey.
He also gave his compatriot Rafael Nadal a good match in Barcelona. Nadal, five years his junior, is the man who defeated Ferrer in his only Grand Slam final appearance at the 2013 French Open, while they were also team-mates in Spain’s three most recent Davis Cup triumphs.
Ferrer was a multiple semi-finalist in Melbourne and New York and a two-time quarter-finalist at Wimbledon, while he was also a runner up in the 2007 ATP Finals. His biggest title came at the Paris Masters in 2012.
Remarkably, it was his seventh title of that season. Competing against the likes of Roger Federer, Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray throughout his professional life on a tennis court, it was always going to be tough to break the Big Four’s Grand Slam monopoly but Ferrer will retire in the knowledge he gave everything he had.
‘Yes, of course, I’m really happy with my career,’ he said in Madrid. ‘It was very consistent. I have been seven years in the top-10, a lot of years top-15. I won a lot of matches. I am very proud about my career.
‘Of course, I don’t have a Grand Slam but I always tried to do my best. ‘I am very happy with everything I did and you know I played with Roger, Rafa, Novak, Andy Murray – four of the best tennis players in the history.
‘But for me it was good because I improved a lot my game. Maybe without them I would never be No. 3 in the world. ‘I’m really quiet about that and proud about everything I did and nothing else.
I did the best of me in everything. I tried to improve every year with my tennis, my mind, my personal life so I really appreciate everything about tennis.’
Ferrer may yet find himself in the Tennis Hall of Fame, according to the organisation’s president Todd Martin, who told Metro.co.uk that he feels the former world No. 3 would be a worthy addition.
‘If we were having this conversation 12 months ago, Caroline Wozniacki would have been world No. 1 for more than 52 weeks over the course of her career but absent of a Grand Slam title,’ he said.
‘Obviously she won in Australia this year . ‘Take an example from the men’s game – you look at David Ferrer who has just concluded his career and you consider that he was No. 4 in the world for a long time consecutively but just happened to be behind Federer, Nadal and Djokovic for those years.
‘Pretty amazing careers by both of them and judged by different people would be deemed to be more significant than those who have won Grand Slam titles prior to 2018.’