With the quarterfinals in the men's side of the draw set at the 2012 edition of Wimbledon, it is interesting to see how much David Ferrer is being underappreciated in his chances to advance.
While the argument exists that he may not be in the same category as the "big three" or has never won a major—let alone played in a final in a Grand Slam tournament—he does possess a lethal combination of grit and talent.
Which means this year at Wimbledon will present a completely different storyline than what many people think when it comes to his upcoming matches.
So without further wait, here are five reasons why David Ferrer is being underappreciated and how that could be bad news for his opponents—like Andy Murray, who he faces off in the quarters today.
So far through the last two Grand Slam tournaments, Ferrer has done no worse than making it into the quarterfinals. At Wimbledon this year, he has been able to repeat the trend.
However, that will not be where his run ends this year, or so he hopes. After making it to the quarterfinals in Australia before losing to Novak Djokovic and then in France in the semifinals to Rafael Nadal, he has consistently been able to improve on his past results.
It seems like Ferrer is finally ready to step into the spotlight and play with the big boys. Although he has not yet shown that he can handle, or compete, against them, he has proven that he has the talents to take him there.
He recognizes the skills that he has, and although grass may not be consider his best surface, he makes sure his game reflects a style that he can win Wimbledon with. He goes on to tell Paul Wilson of The Guardian:
My return is my best weapon. I don't have the power in my serve that you are supposed to have for a grass court, but so far I am playing very well with my returns.
Even with the amount of underappreciation that Ferrer gets, his high level of success at Grand Slam tournaments is very enlightening to see the level of play that he is capable of producing.
It is sometimes very easy to forget what happens beyond the "big three," as they get so much of the attention in the tennis world. But it is interesting to know that Ferrer is a top-five-ranked player in the world, only behind Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Murray.
Pat Cash, a former Wimbledon champion, tells Paul Wilson of The Guardian what he thinks of Ferrer and what exactly makes his game so dangerous, saying, "Ferrer is one of the fiercest and fittest players in world tennis. But he also manages to be graceful."
Wilson also goes on to say that Federer considers Ferrer to be the best returner out there, and that Djokovic feels like he is playing a wall when matched up against him because the ball keeps coming back no matter what.
In an ideal world, Ferrer would want them to be saying that he is the better player, but he knows that is not the case. Nonetheless, being praised for your return, your grit and toughness on the court by two of the greatest players in the game is a great achievement in its own right.
Ferrer is ranked No. 5 in the world, and that ranking means he is no pushover. He plays a type of game that should never be underappreciated. Any player who puts it all on the line every time he steps on court, giving it every bit of effort, deserves recognition.
He has the talent and the tenacity to make things difficult for some of the best, and Andy Murray is going to find that out firsthand—one more time—in their upcoming match.
Not only did Ferrer come into Wimbledon after winning the very last tournament that he entered, but he also has five victories in total on tour already this season.
The last tournament he played was in the Netherlands, and although there was not a great deal of talent in the draw, he was was still able to come out on top. Having his confidence level high coming into a Grand Slam tournament is key.
Winning that tournament also gave Ferrer a chance to get a lot more matches on grass, basically guaranteed. He would have been expected to make it into the finals, so that would mean more times on court than if he played in a high-profile event somewhere else.
This was a good move by Ferrer in leading up to Wimbledon.
For someone who is widely known as a very good clay-court player, even accepting that grass is his worst surface to play on, that win could not have come at a better time.
He is coming off a victory—on grass to boot—and already has five titles in the 2012 year. Ferrer has been playing good tennis all season, and there is no reason why he should be underappreciated with that kind of record.
Sure, he has lost in the big matches to the big players, but he has consistently moved on and advanced—just as he is doing at Wimbledon. All it takes is one strong game and he puts himself in the driver's seat to advance to the finals.
Helping in more ways than one, the Nadal upset—and subsequent elimination of the No. 2 seed—clears a path for Ferrer, giving him a lot more fans who will be cheering him on.
It would be expected that Ferrer felt both a little excitement and disappointment from the second-round loss that Nadal encountered. After all, they are fellow Spaniards, and if one loses, the other—most likely, anyways—would turn to cheer for their fellow countryman.
If Nadal was still in the draw, there would be no talk of who was going to make it to the finals from the bottom half. Without him being there, however, the opportunity to make it has become wide open. There is no reason to believe that Ferrer couldn't put together some good tennis in his next couple matches and find himself in the finals.
And on that route, he will find himself with more supporters. For one, any one of the fans from Spain who were hoping for a Nadal victory will turn their attention to Ferrer. Two, the fact that he has made it so far in the tournament will also gain him supporters.
Come his next match against the hometown favorite, this little extra support will be huge.
Ferrer is always underappreciated to make it into a finals because of his record against the "big three." This time, however, none of them are in his side of the draw. That means that if he can get by Murray next match, he should be the favorite to make it there.
Ferrer's next match is today against Andy Murray, the highest-seeded player he will possibly play until he makes the finals. It will be a tough match, but there are factors to consider as to why Ferrer will come out on top.
Murray is the clear favourite at the moment; he has played good tennis thus far, he has the better ranking, he plays better on grass and he has a very big incentive to win, with this Grand Slam tournament in his own backyard.
Nonetheless, Ferrer should again not be underappreciated when it comes to what he can bring to the court. This match against Murray will not be as difficult for him as it may seem.
Ferrer is quick to remind everyone about their last match at Roland Garros this year, and even though that was on clay, it is still a big confidence booster going into a match knowing you beat your opponent the last time you played. Ferrer goes on to tell Wilson:
Two weeks ago I beat him on clay but on grass it will be more difficult. Maybe there will be more pressure on him than me because he is playing at home. Sometimes that is not easy, but he is a great player and he has reached semifinals here before.
Knowing that he beat him at the last Grand Slam tournament, and also the fact that he can play a game where he has nothing to lose, suits Ferrer well.
Murray, like he mentioned, will have all the pressure on him. This leaves Ferrer to go out there and just leave it all on the line. He will present Murray with his toughest match yet, and it could very well go the distance.