By Romi Cvitkovic
With David Ferrer’s 6-0, 6-2 loss to Rafael Nadal in the final of Acapulco last week, followed by his opening round loss to Kevin Anderson at the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday, is Ferrer — at age 30 — on his way out of the game?
Known for his ferocious and undying hustle on court, the No. 4 seed seemed well on his way to a straight set win in Indian Wells over world No. 37 Anderson, when at 4-all in the second, the South African stepped up his game and never looked back.
“I had my chance in the 4-all, two break points up, but he played good in important moments,” commented Ferrer. “He played more aggressive, more consistent than me, and in the third set I was a little bit tired and he was better than me. I don’t have excuse, no?”
Addressing why he felt so tired, Ferrer simply commented that “it’s tennis, it’s normal.”
While his age may be indicative of one approaching the end of their tennis career, Ferrer credited his loss to bad play, and not as a sign of an imminent descent. Sure, he was handed a devastating loss by a player who had just returned to the game after being out for more than seven months, but that is a different story. Ferrer and Nadal know each other’s games as well as they know their own, and Nadal simply had a lot more riding on his return than Ferrer did on his game. Perhaps some friendly intimidation and respect played a factor in Ferrer’s loss to his good friend as well.
The 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 loss to Anderson, however, could be tougher to explain. It’s as if Ferrer just lost the plot to the match — which is something that rarely happens to the Spaniard. The BNP Paribas Open only marked Anderson’s second tournament back from elbow surgery, but the South African was not afraid to test his arm hitting six aces for the match.
Less a testament of what Ferrer can or cannot do, his loss today may very well have been just a bad day at the office, including emotions running high for both opponents on some questionable line calls. But according to Ferrer, ” some days (a) player is playing good, and sometimes he’s playing not so good. Today I (did) not play bad, but (it was) not my best match.”
Is it perhaps that Ferrer is simply unwilling to accept a couple of tough back-to-back losses as a sign of things to come? Truthfully, not likely. He’s one of the few that is keenly aware of his limitations (as minuscule as they may be), but he gives credit where it’s due and knows that hurdles like this are just part of the game.
In fact, he is so acutely cognizant of his game that he doesn’t even look to his current ranking of world No. 4, but looks ahead to the year-end rankings in order to gauge his progress.
“I start very good this season, and of course it’s important to finish the season top 10,” stated Ferrer. “But is difficult … The most important thing is (how I) finish the season. Now is not important … I want to practice a lot and hard work for to be top 10.”
As far as bouncing back from this tough loss to Anderson, Ferrer fans need not fret, as the Spaniard keeps a level-headed perspective.
“This is only sport,” commented Ferrer. “Of course, it’s my job. It was a bad day, and I am disappointed with (myself), but tomorrow I going to be good.”