David Ferrer was a prodigious talent beyond measure. Ferrer was one of those faces you would always see in the later stages of grand slams such as the Australian Open. One of the all-time line-ups at grand slam level, the 2012 Australian Open quarterfinals, is proof of the quality and depth of the field that Ferrer had to contend with. The last 8 of the 2012 Australian Open? Juan Martin del Potro, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori, Tomas Berdych and David Ferrer. This is what makes Ferrer so unique: the big 4 were basically 10 years younger than versions that next gen had to contend with- and he absolutely went toe-to-toe with them despite that!
What is even more bonkers was that between 2011-2016, Ferrer managed to make the quarterfinal or semi-final in 5 out of those 6 years. Prime David Ferrer was one of those players who you watched with your mouth agape. He was one of those rare players who was gifted with this ability to rally for hours and still sustain the same ultra-high level throughout the match . Take for instance the 2011 Australian Open quarterfinal, where he won in straight sets against none other than prime Nadal. In all honesty, words and superlatives almost fail to describe just the level of tennis that Ferrer was producing, point after point.
Was David Ferrer a far far superior player to any of the next-gen players, like Zverev, Tsitsipas and Medvedev, who have achieved better career high rankings than him? David Ferrer’s unrivalled consistency at the Australian Open, achieving almost 6 straight major quarterfinals, begs the question about the current next-gen. Almost every single one of his amazing runs at the Australian Open he was stopped short by either of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray.
Like the 2011 Australian Open quarterfinals, where he drew prime Murray in the semi-finals, but lost in 4 brave sets. How about the 2012 Australian Open quarterfinals, where he had to play Novak Djokovic. Despite going toe-to-toe with prime Djokovic, who was 10 years younger than he currently is, Ferrer lost the match in 3 tight sets. The very next year? The 2013 Australian Open semi-finals, where he again drew Novak Djokovic and lost in 3. 2014? David Ferrer made another Australian Open quarterfinal, this time being taken down by Tomas Berdych, who was playing out of his mind all tournament. Berdych was another player of the same ilk as Ferrer, who went toe-to-toe with prime big 4. 2016? Ferrer made the 2016 Australian Open quarterfinals, this time losing in 4 to eventual finalist Andy Murray. Despite another gallant effort, where he took a set off prime Murray, he eventually lost in 4 sets.
All in all, this begs a question. If prime Ferrer had to play alongside the next gen top 5, would he be ranked number 1 in the world?