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Sports Then and Now

David Ferrer Takes 24-carat Tennis From Latin American to Davis Cup Victory 5

Posted on March 09, 2010 by Marianne Bevis
2010 Australian Open - Day 4

Everything about the climax of the tennis’s “Golden Swing” glowed.

It was played out in the Mexican heat, under brilliant floodlights, on the deepest of orange backgrounds.

It brought together two golden-skinned Spaniards in their second final in six days.

And it delivered up a treasure chest of outstanding tennis.

But start with the protagonists: David Ferrer and Juan Carlos Ferrero.

Not just compatriots: They both come from the Valencia region of Spain.

Not just Davis Cup team mates, but business partners: They jointly back the newly-branded Valencia 500 tournament that moved to the stunning Agora building in 2009.

Not only two of Spain’s most successful tennis players: They are close friends who play and practise together.

These numerous bonds made for not one but two helpings of fast-moving, sporting, and intense tennis on the clay of Latin America in the final days of February.

For drama, the match could not have promised more. These are two men who have been around the block a few times, have seen their fortunes ebb and flow, but have both expressed their desire to get back to the top 10.

Ferrero, who turned 30 just days before winning the Brazil Open three weeks ago, has reached an ATP final in every year since 1999. He won titles every year between 1999 and 2003, including four Masters and the French Open, which took him briefly to No 1 in the world. It was another six years before he claimed his next title: Casablanca last year.

Now, coming into this closer of the “Golden Swing,” he could boast not one new title but two in consecutive weeks. And here he was, aiming to add a third.

Juan Carlos Ferrero and David Ferrer

Ferrero has worked hard on his fitness and stamina off court in order to taste success on court again. It has reaped riches. From a ranking of 115 during that Casablanca tournament, he has now reached his highest ranking—14—since October 2004.

Then there is the back story for Ferrer.

He is two weeks shy of his 28th birthday, and has reached an ATP final in every year since 2002, bar one. What he has lacked in Ferrero’s shot-making flair he has made up for in terrier-like determination.

Hard-working, a power-pack of muscle and energy, he came closest to touching pure gold in the finals of the Masters Cup of 2007. His last ATP title was back in the spring of 2008, and he’s won only one ATP 500 title in his career.

Ferrer’s main victories in 2009 were in Davis Cup ties: He won all six matches he played. But since last spring, aside from those ties, he has experienced a real slump in what seemed to be a devastating loss of confidence. Now, though, he’s almost back to his No 16 ranking of a year ago—just two short of Ferrero.

The positive side to his narrative is that, with an upturn in form, he can rake in the points throughout this year.

Their first meeting was in Bueno Aires. Read the rest of this entry →

Novak Djokovic Edges Roger Federer for Top Spot in Tennis Power Rankings 0

Posted on March 08, 2010 by JA Allen

The U.S. hard court swing is underway this week as players compete at the ATP Masters Series Tennis Tournament in the desert at Indian Wells followed by another sunny outing at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami.

Last year’s champion at Indian Wells, Rafael Nadal, has been sidelined with injuries since the Australian Open.  No. 1 seed Roger Federer has also been absent from play since the Australian Open with a lung infection.

As the top players vie once again for supremacy, look for the rankings race to heat up as the lull is set aside and the summer season beckons.

The Top 10

1. Novak Djokovic (Last Power Ranking: OLI; ATP Ranking: 2)

Last Four Tournaments: Dubai [Winner], Rotterdam [Semifinalist], 2010 Australian Open [Quarterfinalist], ATP WTF London [RR 2-1].  Power Ranking Points: 382

Novak Djokovic takes the victory in Dubai from Mikhail Youzhny

Novak Djokovic takes the victory in Dubai from Mikhail Youzhny

Taking over the top spot this week is the Serb Djokovic who just repeated as the champion in Dubai overcoming Mikhail Youzhny in the final.  Even though Djokovic was not playing his best tennis, he found a way to win this event and cement his No. 2 status on the ATP tour.

This weekend Djokovic played Davis Cup for the Serbs against the U.S. and even though the U.S. team came back to win the doubles match, ultimately the Serbs prevailed thanks in part to Djokovic’s dual wins in singles.

Last year at Indian Wells Djokovic lost in the quarterfinals to American Andy Roddick 6-3, 6-2.  This year as the No. 2 seed, Djokovic will expect to do much better.  Much will depend upon the draw which is to be released shortly.   The current state of tennis mastery will become much clearer once the two ATP hard court Master Series events are concluded at Indian Wells and Miami.

Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Dale Murphy: A Hallmark of Excellence
      July 2, 2024 | 1:53 pm
      Dale Murphy

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was a standout player of the 1980s, remembered not only for his exceptional skills on the field but also for his exemplary character and sportsmanship.

      Born on March 12, 1956, in Portland, Oregon, Dale Murphy’s journey to becoming one of the most respected players in baseball history is a testament to dedication, perseverance, and a genuine love for the game.

      Early Career and Rise to Prominence

      Murphy was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the first round of the 1974 MLB Draft. He made his Major League debut on September 13, 1976, at the age of 20. Initially a catcher, Murphy transitioned to the outfield early in his career, where he would solidify his place as one of the premier outfielders of his era.

      Read more »

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