Miami Open

David Ferrer’s Incredible Career Mostly Went Under The Radar

by Rajagopalan Rohinee

In 2016, when I had gone to cover the Davis Cup World Group Play-off between India and Spain in the Indian capital New Delhi, I got a chance to briefly speak one-on-one with David Ferrer. It was quite a fortuitous occurrence if I could say so, brought about by virtue of him leaving the press room all alone after a joint press conference addressed by the Spanish team. For me, it was a tick against a long-compiled bucket list of players with whom I wanted to professionally interact.

And while I cannot recollect the questions – though the article is still archived – which were largely dated, the memory of mustering the courage to walk up to Ferrer and ask him if he would talk to me still lingers on. As does the fact that barring true-blue followers of the game who had come to attend the matches, not many knew about Ferrer, or were keen to more about the player.

From the global standpoint, one could never be so crass as to attribute the same lack of knowledge about the Spaniard. However, in a way, those three days in India – despite him winning both his singles rubbers to help Spain claim a 5-0 whitewash over the hosts – encapsulated the minutiae of how a swathe of Ferrer’s career went under the radar. As they emphasised the constant underestimation of his on-court capabilities. This underestimation, then, still holds true. Even as lately as his match against Alexander Zverev in his last hard-court tournament, at the 2019 Miami Open.

The win over Alexander Zverev in Miami, ending the German’s run of four successive wins against him, too, summarised the other side of the coin that has been the 36-year-old’s career. Of thriving when least expected, and putting on avowing performance such that not only his game would speak for him but the focus would also remain centred on it.

This dichotomy, then, defines Ferrer’s near-20-year-old career. To be a player who is grounded in his strengths as though raising self-awareness about his susceptibilities and yet someone who never stopped striving to get better. Like reaching his first Major final after having played 42 Majors without making it to the second Sunday.

Many would rue that this opportunity came in a little too late as it has often been said about him missing out on a lot because of the competitiveness of the era of which he was a part. Such introspection would be doing the man a disservice in solely using numbers and statistics as a convenient measure of accomplishment.

It rarely happens in sports that less comes to denote more. But this is quite true if one were to describe Ferrer’s career. It may not have the prescribed standards of title hauls but it was no less enriching and satisfying the way it has been, arching into a peak of its own making, mindless and unheeding of the doubts and scepticisms, especially those that came about camouflaged as plaudits.

Beyond this, on a personal note, being inspired by Ferrer and his career is also the completion of an unlikely circle. One that began after a misunderstanding involving his name and that of Federer’s, back when I had just started following the game over a decade ago.

With Roger Federer Out Of The Miami Open, Who Is The Favorite?

After world No. 1 Roger Federer’ stunning opening round loss by the hands of No. 175-ranked Thanasi Kokkinakis Australia, the men’s draw at the Miami Open is a virtual toss-up.

With Federer’s loss, it will mark the first time since 2010 and only the second time in 15 years that no member of the “Big 4” in tennis (Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray) will win Indian Wells or Miami. With all the usual stars on the sidelines after losses (Federer, Djokovic) and injuries (Nadal, Murray and Stan Wawrinka), many new contenders will now look at the draw and feel more confident that they can snag one of the biggest titles in the tennis circuit.

Juan Martin del Potro is seen as the favorite now to win the title, despite being the No. 5 seed and with two players seeded higher than him still in the draw – No. 2 seed Marin Cilic and No. 4 seed Alexander Zverev. Del Potro and Cilic are the only two players in the field left who have won major titles, del Potro beating Federer in the final of the 2009 U.S. Open and Cilic also winning in New York in 2014. The Argentine always plays his most inspired tennis when in the presence of his vocal and enthusiastic Argentine fan base and there is not a lack of them in Miami. He will feel as though he is playing for his country in these friendly environs and it will help lift his game, just as it did for him at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, where he had an incredible run to the final and in winning the Davis Cup for Argentina later that year. To boot, del Potro is on a high after winning two big titles in the last few weeks, the 500-level ATP event in Acapulco, Mexico and his first Masters Series title in Indian Wells, California, where he defeated Federer in a thrilling final.

The only thing that could trip up del Potro would be mental or physical fatigue from playing so many matches in such a short period of time.

Cilic is in del Potro’s half and will also challenge for the title. Cilic still has a hot hand from reaching two of the last three major finals at Wimbledon and the Australian Open. Grigor Dimitrov, the No. 3 seed, was also in this half of the draw but lost to Jeremy Chardy of France. Dimitrov won his first Masters Series event in Cincinnati also on hard courts last August. He also won the year-end ATP World Tour Finals last November for the biggest win of his career, but has struggled since then.

In Federer’s vacated top half of the draw, the favorite to go through is probably Alexander Zverev, the No. 4 seed, who has already won two titles on the “Masters Series” level on the ATP Tour (just below the Grand Slams) last year in Rome (defeating Novak Djokovic in the final) and in Montreal (defeating Roger Federer in the final.

However, any number of contenders could also break through. Kevin Anderson, the No. 6 seed, is full of confidence after his run to the US Open final last September and could once again rise to seek more glory.

Tennis observers should keep a close eye on Denis Shapovalov and his Miami Open betting odds. The 18-year-old Canadian left-hander has jumped into the top 50 in the ATP rankings with his explosive game. If he is able to put together all of his amazing shot-making during a stretch of matches, he can beat anybody in the world and grab a title at any level.

It’s All In The Head For Nick Kyrgios

It’s often quite frustrating when you see a player who undoubtedly has talent but lacks the temperament to make it to the very top of their game. The career of Australian Nick Kyrgios has been littered with such incidents and again it’s surfaced at the Miami Open. His world ranking is rising, though, so could he rid himself of his inner demons and one day become a Grand Slam-winning top ten player?

A poor temperament can limit the success a player has. Take Ilie Nastase for example, a great player who would surely have won more Grand Slams if he hadn’t lost his temper so many times. The same can be said about John McEnroe, an all-time great but one who should have won more titles than he did. Even Ronnie O’Sullivan, one of the greatest ever snooker players, has had to seek help regarding his mental approach to the game.obably never will. Yet here’s a player with great potential, particularly on a grass court. A Wimbledon title can’t be ruled out and he’s 20/1 at Paddy Power to win there this year. To keep himself at the top of his game for a fortnight is a task that looks beyond him. There always seems to be a temper tantrum just around the corner, doesn’t there?

Last year saw him suspended for three weeks for “lack of best efforts” in a game against Mischa Zverev. Future champions don’t go around asking umpires, “Can you call time so I can finish this match and go home?” Later he claimed he doesn’t owe fans anything, so a future career in public relations isn’t that likely.

2017 has been a mixed bag so far for Kyrgios. The Australian Open wasn’t a great experience for him as he lost to Andreas Seppi in the second round, despite leading two sets to love. Kyrgios even considered taking a break from the game. He felt that all the country was against him but help from his family helped change that view.

When a player is on record as saying “I think when things get tough. I’m just a little bit soft,” then you know something has to change. He has sought some help regarding his often appalling mental approach to the game and it looks as if that might be paying off.

His form has improved and he has twice beaten Novak Djokovic, including at Indian Wells on his way to the last eight. Who knows, he might have progressed further but for having to pull out of his quarter-final with Roger Federer (who could teach him a few lessons on how to behave during a game) due to illness. His ranking is up to 16 and due to rise higher, especially if he were to have a good clay court season.

But again, the bad side of his character was shown during the Miami Open. He appeared to reprimand a ball boy during his match with Ivo Karlovic. “How am I supposed to catch that? It’s right at my feet,” the Australian shouted, leading to boos from the crowd. Okay, he made up with the ball boy later but it’s still a sign that his temperament isn’t quite up to scratch.

At the age of 21, Kyrgios is still a work in progress. The talent is there and he could well be a Wimbledon Champion one day, but the fiery Australian still has a lot of maturing to do in the meantime.

Get Your Tickets For The Miami Open!

The 2017 Miami Open presented by Itaú will be returning to the Crandon Park Tennis Center for its 30th consecutive year and now is your opportunity to secure tickets to what will be another entertainment and sports extravaganza.

The 2017 Miami Open will take place March 20 – April 2 and will once again be the hottest ticket in town. With ticket packages starting at just $136 and individual session tickets starting at just $30, the Miami Open will be the place-to-be in Miami.

For more information or to purchase tickets go to www.miamiopen.com or call (305) 442-3367.

For three decades the Miami Open has been bringing the best in sports, food, fashion, and entertainment to the Magic City and 2017 will be another global showcase of what makes the event and surrounding community so special.

Located in one of the world’s most multicultural cities, with amazing weather and a glamorous celebrity appeal, the Miami Open has an energy and excitement unlike any other tournament in the world.  Combine that with the greatest men’s and women’s tennis players in the game and you are certain to have an experience to remember.

For those looking to entertain clients and guests in style, the Miami Open has a limited number of Patron Sponsorship opportunities available. These highly sought after sponsorships do not become available very often and include access to premium seat locations for all Stadium sessions, VIP parking, access to the exclusive Patron Sponsor lounge, box seat name identification and recognition in tournament promotional materials and front gate, and 12 vouchers for meals at the Champions Club. These sponsorships will not be available for long, so call today.

Vacation Packages are also on sale. If you are planning a trip to Miami for the Miami Open, then let us take care of your hotel and ticket arrangements at one low price. Packages are inclusive for two (2) guests, which includes three nights at one of our partner properties, plus tickets to the sessions of your choice for the 2017 Miami Open.

Don’t miss any of the action. Secure your seats for 2017 and watch the best players in the world as they battle on the purple courts for one of the most coveted titles in tennis.

About the Miami Open presented by Itaú

The 2017 Miami Open will be played March 20-April 2 at the Crandon Park Tennis Center in Miami. The two-week combined event is owned and operated by IMG. The Miami Open is one of nine ATP Masters 1000 Series events on the ATP calendar, a Premier Mandatory event on the WTA calendar, and features the top men’s and women’s tennis players in the world. The tournament is widely regarded as the most glamorous on the ATP and WTA calendars because of its exotic Miami location, thriving nightlife, five-star hotels and restaurants, beautiful weather and beaches, and its celebrity appeal. For ticket information, call +1.305.442.3367 or visit www.miamiopen.com.

About Itaú

Itau is the largest Latin America privately owned bank, with approximately 95,000 employees and operations in 20 countries throughout the Americas, Asia and Europe. Itaú’s relationship with sport goes back to the 1970s, when Itaú first sponsored the Itaú Tennis Cup in Brazil in 1970. Itaú has been a sponsor of the Miami Open for the last six years, and also sponsors the Rio Open, the only combined ATP/WTA event in South America. Itaú also supports the Brazilian Women’s Tennis Circuit, only female professional tournament in South America, certified by the Brazilian Tennis Confederation (CBT) and the International Tennis Federation (ITF), as well as the Tennis Institute Training Center, responsible for the development of young, new talent.

About IMG

IMG is a global leader in sports, events, media and fashion, operating in more than 30 countries. The company represents and manages some of the world’s greatest sports figures and fashion icons; stages hundreds of live events and branded entertainment experiences annually; and is one of the largest independent producers and distributors of sports media. IMG also specializes in sports training; league development; and marketing, media and licensing for brands, sports organizations and collegiate institutions. In 2014, IMG was acquired by WME, a leading global entertainment agency.