After Valencia, Federer, Djokovic, Nadal and Hewitt will remain a little longer alone. As with Roddick, the circuit will wave goodbye to another tennis player who is able to boast of having reached the top of the ATP rankings: the Valencia tournament will in fact be the last tournament played by Juan Carlos Ferrero. The many physical problems he has suffered with have never prevented the desire for him to play, but now he will focus on his tennis school, hoping to see some champions come out of this structure, which is situated in the same city where he is to bid his farewell.
Down now at position No.111, the 32 year-old Mosquito (he is called this for the way his game can annoy the opponent) will hang up his racket after 15 years, and 8 weeks at the top of the ATP rankings.
The No.1 ranking happened between September 8th and November 2nd 2003, curiously before Andy Roddick became No.1, that year was magical for Juan Carlo Ferrero, then emerging as a talented Spanish tennis player who was defeated in the final in Paris in 2002 against Albert Costa, but later went on to win in Monte Carlo, Valencia and at Roland Garros, taking advantage of a good draw, where he defeated Dutchman Martin Verkerk, number 46 in the world.
Located in Flushing Meadows he eliminated Lleyton Hewitt in the quarter-finals, and the world No. 1 Andre Agassi, before losing in the final against Andy Roddick (him again!), in what will be the only Slam of his career in the United States. Thanks to this result, Ferrero became the No.1 on September 8th 2003.
He can be defined as a clay specialist in tennis, but he has also adapted well to the hard courts over the years as it has become slower: proof is in his consistent good results in the United States and Australia at the beginning of the year. He also went on to win the Masters Series 1000 in Madrid, won by number 1 in 2003, when the tournament was played indoors in the Spanish capital, beating Roger Federer in the semi-final.
His career has been swinging up and down, as the Mosquito, who peaked so highly saw a low point in the spring of 2009, when he came out of the top 100, before a surprise run on the English grass (semi-finals at Queen's, Wimbledon quarters) to cheer him up. Ferrero enjoyed the so-called Golden Swing, winning three tournaments on South American soil on and he fought off fatigue for three consecutive weeks after experiencing a very high pace of play.
The victory in Stuttgart last year was for now the last of his career, having won 15 ATP tournaments, 3 Davis Cups, and considered a mastery of clay recognized by everyone, fans and opponents, crumbled only by the appearance on the scene of Rafael Nadal, the tyrant who often makes his opponents crumble.
How to play from the baseline
The expression “to endure the rally” is about those indeterminate moments of a rally where none of the players is leading.
The ability to endure the rally is fundamental when you play a “long rally”, because it offers you the chance to measure your opponent’s strong points and vulnerabilities, besides letting you position as best as possible for your next offensive shot.