David Ferrer’s hopes of ever winning a Grand Slam title appear to be waning after Novak Djokovic proved once again that power is the key difference between good players and great ones in their Australian Open semi-final clash on Thursday.
Ferrer headed into the tie in good form after defeating Marcos Baghdatis and 10th seed Nicolas Almagro in earlier rounds. Seeded fourth in Melbourne, Ferrer was expected to reach the semis and didn’t disappoint – proving he is the best of a league just below the ATP’s elite band.
However, he was a vast outsider in the Tennis odds and up against the physical monster that is Djokovic the world number five had no chance, losing 6-2 6-2 6-1 in just one hour and 29 minutes. It was a magnificent display of robust tennis from Djokovic, who powered down a number of love service games and hit numerous returns with venom right under Ferrer’s feet.
The Spaniard simply couldn’t handle Djokovic’s strength, consistency and sting in his forehands, the ball back in Ferrer’s court almost before he finished his follow-through.
Unfortunately, this is the level Ferrer must reach if he is ever going to win a tennis Grand Slam and at 30 years of age his body is not going to get stronger over time. His build and playing style is more like Roger Federer – graceful, angled and poised – but unlike Federer he doesn’t posses that real quality in his shot selection and cannot match the physicality of Djokovic, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal when required.
That physicality is why Federer has won so many Grand Slams while appearing the silky smooth player we all admire. Sadly Ferrer will never combine strength with technique enough to take down two powerful opponents in a Grand Slam semi and final, meaning his dreams for a maiden major will probably never be realised.