16 Responses

  1. Henk
    Henk December 19, 2012 at 8:17 am |

    He’s due for a slam. Imagine how hilarious it would be if Ferrer bags the ’13 USO.

    1. Juan José
      Juan José December 20, 2012 at 6:06 am |

      That would be the shortest trophy ceremony in history. They might not show it on TV altogether.

      But in all seriousness…I think a great deal of events have to go right for Ferrer to even be in a final, let alone win it. BUT…my own Ecuadorian compatriot Andrés Gómez won his first and only Slam at age 30, when a couple of breaks (most noticeably, Lendl’s obsession with Wimbledon) gave him the chance. So you never know!

  2. triplebagel
    triplebagel December 19, 2012 at 8:58 am |

    This was a great read and I agreed with everything – including that people should criticize him the same way they do the other top players – up until this one sentence:

    “Right, but it also doesn’t mean he’s an outright victim of the media, which is how some fans act.”

    I feel very ambiguous about this statement. On the one hand, I do agree that we, as Ferrer fans, sometimes go too far in our frustration with how he is – and has been – portrayed in and treated by the media, but I think we have a good reason to. There is a history there. Just because the media and fan interest has been growing the last few years – I’d say, the last two years it’s really improved – doesn’t mean there wasn’t a huge lack of interest and respect all those years before.

    And it still happens. A huge tournament *forgot about him*. Imagine them forgetting to put a Murray match on the schedule, or a Berdych match. The idea is laughable. And he used to get put on back courts all the time. We haven’t forgotten about this and I think it clouds how we Ferrer fans treat the attention he does get. Because it *is* often patronizing, the way the media/commentators treat him. I remember well that he beat Tsonga in Paris and the commentators were only talking about Tsonga. Often when David beats top guys, the commentators will talk about how said top guys failed to do something, instead of talking about what David did to beat them.

    I think we’re too pigheaded to forget about all that. XD (Then again, I can only speak for myself.)

    1. Lindsay
      Lindsay December 19, 2012 at 3:48 pm |

      Thanks for reading Christy! I must say that I was curious as to what your reaction would be.

      I think it’s natural for fans to be over-sensitive. I guarantee that Federer fans can remember every time he has been “slighted” or counted out by media members, and same for all the other players. It’s human nature to hear the negative louder. If I write something and there are 10 positive comments and one negative, I’ll harp on the bad one. I completely agree that Ferrer has gotten the short end of the stick at times–and the Indian Wells thing was inexcusable– i just don’t think it’s quite as conspiracy-driven as it is sometimes portrayed.

      I love the way you support him though–you’re a great fan. I have nothing but respect for him, but do think it’s important to dig deeper into the traditional narrative.

    2. Juan José
      Juan José December 20, 2012 at 6:42 am |

      All I could think of when I read your comment, Christy, is “fans never forget”. And Ferrer’s case presents an interesting situation, since he was a late bloomer, so there’s more slights to remember than with others who developed faster.

      What kills me about the media coverage is that by simplifying their narrative about Ferrer to the max, they forgo the opportunity to have an interesting conversation about the great things Ferrer does on the court (other than “run a lot”, “never give up”, etc), which would be quite educational for people watching.

      I think it will be interesting to see how the media and the tournaments treat Ferrer next year, particularly if/when he gets inside the top 4. He’s got a M1000 now, too. Like you, we’ll be watching closely, and something like Indian Wells will not go unnoticed on this space.

  3. Jess
    Jess December 19, 2012 at 9:54 am |

    LOL @ Step riding the wave of DC momentum & winning slam.
    SOB @ Davydenko narrative. I miss Davydenko the play-station.

    1. Juan José
      Juan José December 20, 2012 at 6:08 am |

      We all do, Jess. We all miss Nicky D. At least he did get two wins over Federer before it was all said and done!

  4. Mithi
    Mithi December 19, 2012 at 12:26 pm |

    I am really glad you guys discussed this issue. It’s a feature on my TL quite often. A few things that ran through my mind.

    1. I get why Juan equates talent with the big shots. But when we follow stats, you’ll be surprised by how many winners David Ferrer hits. and his biggest plus point? unlike Berdy, Tsonga and the lot, his UFEs are way lesser. so he triumphs through ratio. So as you said Amy, he has his own set of talents too. He’s also been coming in much more than in the past. I’ve been watching him with sole focus on that transition.

    2. It always amazes me that without the power, he is a legitimate top 10 threat though. That USO QF vs Tipsarevic was very telling on just how good Ferrer is. I look at it in the scheme of things. Andy doesn’t have a second in command in Britain. I think it’s best if we don’t talk about Stan and “second to Federer” in the same sentence. He might find me and tell me all about St. David’s Cup. Tipsa as the second in command for Novak. easily Ferrer takes the cake. The pressure to perform and keep up with your legendary compatriot. And I think Ferrer is the most recognized tennis athlete behind Rafa in Spain. he is their much-loved DC hero. that’s not easy to achieve given he has 0 slams. You’ve got to establish yourself in some way.

    3. About Rafa’s presence on the DC team. I once heard about a story where David was playing and not doing too well. Rafa went to the washroom and wrote some uplifting message on the mirror which David saw and came out and blasted his opponent. Cheerleader Rafa is awesome. but I don’t think it was him missing as much as all that awkwardness over picking Nico instead of Feli for the finals. Sometimes, the confusion can put a damper on the team spirit. Ferrer rose above it because, well he is a top 5 player for a reason.

    4. Animal nicknames are vile. and rude. I really wish BG would stop encouraging it. Thanks for bringing that to light guys.

    5. The unfairness of the media in this scenario is how much more attention they pay to Tsonga and Berdy compared to Ferrer. People tend to skip over no. 5 and go straight on to no. 6. it’s very insulting. I know that it’s likely Ferrer will be no. 4 in January and its partly because Rafa has been MIA since Wimbledon. But why does the media not appreciate the fact that Ferrer put himself in that position above all the others to be at no.5 so that he can take no. 4 if/when Rafa drops out. he may not be top 4, but ranking wise, he is obviously the best among the rest right now. And at 30, he’s still improving and transitioning.

    6. But Juan, I agree with you about his self-confidence. He is also very shy. That is definitely hampering him from pushing further. That match vs Andy at FO. I agree Andy was not having a good clay season. But Ferrer played really well. lets forget the drumming he got in the SF because if Andy had been there, it would have been the same scenario given his form. Pico and Ferrer got blasted out of court playing as well as they did. Only Nico and Novak really challenged Rafa at the FO. But.. but.. Can we agree that being in the SF by beating any of the top 4 members in the QF is a big deal? Look at all the press Tsonga got at 2011 Wimbledon. What coverage did Ferrer get for his first FO SF appearance? minimal at best. unless it’s a double judgement of Ferrer and Any. it’s the harsh truth that no one but the “Serious fan” knows or recognizes him while Berdy and Tsonga are much more famous. Are the media obliged to cover him? No. but it would be nice if they did.

    I really don’t do short responses do I? sigh..

    1. Juan José
      Juan José December 20, 2012 at 6:18 am |

      Thanks for that, Mithi. And since we don’t have length restrictions on posts, why should you have them when replying?

      Plus, I agree with all of your points. One thing I wanted to discuss was Ferrer’s winners count. When I read that I was initially surprised, but then I thought about it and came up with a viable explanation: Ferrer thrives on out-maneuvering people (particularly when he’s being purposeful and aggressive), so he often generates opportunities for winners after rallies of some length. It’s not like he can take a neutral rally and turn a shot into a winner out of the blue: he has to yank his opponent around, and set up the killer shot, which for him is always very safe, with a lot of margin. Again, not a knock at all – it’s brilliant strategy given his skillset. I event think more talented players could benefit from studying how Ferrer constructs points.

      I wonder if Ferrer would get this media treatment if he were from an English-speaking country. I mean, he’s far more accomplished than late-bloomer Mardy Fish, and Fish got a ton of coverage last year (for MAKING the top 10 and dropping 20 pounds).

      1. Mithi
        Mithi December 20, 2012 at 4:08 pm |

        Fair point. but you gotta admit that Novak and Rafa built a career out of out-maneuvering their opponents. Although they have much more fire power than Ferrer of course. Ferrer is extremely skilled at RoS and the wide-angle forehands like Nole and can retrieve as well as Rafa along with the net finishing which is similar. his only “flaw” literally is his physique. I agree with you on the Mardy Fish comparison. But when you think about it, American media is much more powerful than Spanish media. so there’s always that.

  5. Reem
    Reem December 19, 2012 at 1:15 pm |

    Hi guys.. just wanted to say kudos on the format of this post. A very entertaining way to discuss tennis. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

    I have a comment on how Ferrer would feel if he’s ranked higher than Rafa. I asked him this question at a press conference in London this year, and he genuinely seemed like he doesn’t care. He kind of answered more about being No4 in the world rather than responding to my question about possibly becoming Spanish No1, but his response was basically ‘I don’t care about being No4 or No5’. He said he was No4 before and it didn’t really matter. He also seems like he has no Rafa complex whatsoever. He 100% believes that Rafa is better than him and he said that even if he surpassed Rafa in the rankings, he knows it wouldn’t be a “real” achievement because it’s only because Rafa was injured.

    It also seems that he likes being under the radar when it comes to the media. He prefers it. And like you guys said, his English doesn’t help, but I’ve had conversations in Spanish with him and I still found him pretty reserved. Maybe that’s just me, but I think he likes being where he is. Am I saying he wouldn’t want to be world No1, of course he would, but it also seems that he views himself as having done the maximum with the talent he has been given. That’s the impression I’ve been getting from him.

    So I guess my wish for him would be to raise that ceiling he has set for himself. I think if he was a bit more ambitious, he would’ve maybe added some shots to his game, like Rafa did, over the years which would’ve possibly helped him improve his record against Rafa/Roger. He works hard that’s for sure, but I feel like he works hard on the same thing, over and over again, if that makes sense.

    1. Lindsay
      Lindsay December 19, 2012 at 3:59 pm |

      Thanks so much for weighing in, Reem, and I especially appreciate the insider info. I’ve never been in press with him before–and I don’t speak Spanish–so I haven’t really been able to test my theories. You are dead on about the fact that now it’s time for him to adjust his expectations–as Amy said, he has the same mental block against the big 4 that the other players do. But he’s a mainstay in the top of the game now, and if he doesn’t adjust his expectations for himself then it’s hard to expect the media and fans to do the same.

  6. Matt Zemek
    Matt Zemek December 19, 2012 at 4:06 pm |

    A discussion about the notion of an “overrated” or “underrated” or “underappreciated” or “overlooked” player naturally invites discussions of what it means to be any or all of those things.

    In terms of show-court assignments and other measurable, visible signs of a player’s prominence, there is no question that David Ferrer gets the short end of the stick from tournaments and other corners of the global tennis community. A player of his caliber and ranking should not be dismissed in such a fashion, a unanimous sentiment among tennis fans and followers.

    However, on the matter of paying Ferrer the same amount of (media) attention as Berdych and Tsonga, or (similarly) picking apart his weaknesses to the same extent as Berdych and Tsonga, I’m going to defend the status quo for the most part.

    The main definitions of the word “talent” include the magnifying word “special.” (see dictionary.com ) If a word distinguished “talent” from “skill,” the word “special” would reasonably qualify.

    Court movement is a weapon, but its “talent-to-skill” ratio is more evenly balanced. Hitting a thumping serve or clocking a mean forehand rates much more highly on the talent-to-skill ratio. Juan Jose makes a very important point when he refers to talent as the ability to win a point easily.

    Distilled to its essence, the notion of “tennis talent” basically means, “How well do you wave the magic wand in your hand?” Sure, the elite tennis players manage to run really well, but the key distinction is that they know how to wield the stick and make ridiculous gets with their racquets. Ferrer’s hit his share of running winners over the years, but his comparative lack of weaponry and shotmaking prowess is reflective of someone who flourishes more because of his talent for minimizing errors (that IS a talent, a part of waving the magic wand; it’s just not a flashy one…) than his ability to end a point easily.

    This leads to the next pair of key points.

    When you hold lightning – great power, fearsome power – in your body, you have that much more of a responsibility to use that power wisely and effectively. “To whom much is given, much is expected.”

    Berdych and Tsonga have been given more (and bigger, and more conspicuous) talents than Ferrer. It is not insulting to Ferrer, but appropriately critical of Berdych and Tsonga, to hold the Czech and the Frenchman to a higher set of expectations. The tennis gods gave them more to work with; accordingly, a solid and workmanlike Ferrer quarterfinal or semifinal in a major doesn’t rate as a news story the way Berdych or Tsonga crashing out (or, conversely, beating Federer or making a major final) does.

    When Ferrer makes a major quarterfinal, it is as though a plane landed safely. Not news.

    When Tsonga or Berdych loses in round one or two, it is as though a plane crashed. News!

    When Tsonga or Berdych makes a major final, it is as though landmark legislation was finally passed after years of gridlock. News!

    Here is the one respect in which Ferrer’s weaknesses/shortcomings are not sufficiently addressed: Precisely because his career has gained much more mileage than many others due to his steady, low-error, psychologically anchored approach to tennis, Ferrer’s tendency to shrink in tiebreaks and big-stage matches against inconsistent members of the Big Four is a mark against him. If this mentally tough professional could merely retain said toughness on the days when a Federer/Nadal/Djokovic/Murray is not playing particularly well in a major, Ferrer could make a major final and win a major title.

    I think of last year’s Wimbledon QF second set against Murray. I think of the tiebreak in the Aussie QF against a not-entirely-in-form Djokovic. I think of the first set in Paris against Nadal last June. I think of the WTFs against a scuffling Federer. It almost makes the pre-2012 Olympic version of Andy Murray look good.


    Ultimately, each player’s balance of talent and skill is different. Some combinations are more conspicuous, some harder to discern. Those with more profound talents and prodigious abilities should be viewed a bit more closely, in my mind.

    Let’s frame the discussion with a Juan Jose term of expression: Who has left more money on the table in his career? Ferrer or Berdych? (One could substitute Tsonga for Berdych; nothing’s meant by that choice.) Surely, it’s Berdych. Ergo, picking apart Berdych’s failures and noting how (or wondering if) the Czech can rebound is a more compelling story/narrative/uncertainty than Ferrer’s journey.

    When one looks at Davydenko’s career, one sees the same basic dynamics in abundance.

    It is what it is. If Ferrer had Marat Safin’s body, we wouldn’t be having this conversation… but, alas, we are.

    It is what it is.

    1. Juan José
      Juan José December 20, 2012 at 6:30 am |

      Matt, I don’t think I can love your comment any more than I do. Thank you so much for that!

      You made all the points about the talent issue that I wanted to make (but didn’t), and much more eloquently than I would have. Also, I loved how you brought back the “leaving money on the table” thing.

      Again, what an awesome comment.

  7. Fernando
    Fernando December 20, 2012 at 9:44 am |

    Fernando likes the topic. Fernando is visiting The Changeover more often. There is intelligence here.

    This Matt Zemek has some potential. His analysis on Ferru is very good. But he should be careful to keep his writing snappy and readable.Too much erudition and overuse of flowery, esoteric adjectives can make the prose difficult to slog through. The Tignor has the same issues. With respect.

    I am Fernando @vivafernando

  8. MattV
    MattV December 20, 2012 at 9:56 am |

    Great read, and great comment by (the other) Matt. I think Ferru is getting the same “rep” as Hewitt – a dogged (insert word) fighter but not much else.

    While respecting his will and ability to “grind it out” is one thing, favoring him as a player because of it is completely subjective.

    What that means is that flashier players with similar levels of success will always be more popular and therefore get more coverage.

    I also love the point about not criticizing due to his amazing work ethic – it makes no sense.

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