David Ferrer may be the best player in the history of the Heineken Open, but it won't lead to a victory at the Australian Open.
Ferrer won his third straight title on the Auckland court and his fourth overall on Saturday. The Spaniard is among the best players in the world, but he has routinely struggled to beat the big four in the men's game.
The Heineken Open is a solid tournament, but it generally doesn't include the top talents on the men's side.
In fact, Ferrer has never played any of those four stars in the tournament. Though he has amassed an impressive 253-87 career record and 24 singles titles, he isn't on their level.
Ferrer will catch a slight break—as will the entire field—with the absence of Nadal in the Aussie Open field. Per the Boston Globe, the future Hall of Famer will not compete in the year's first Grand Slam.
Even without the presence of Ferrer's countryman, he still doesn't figure to add an Aussie Open title to his trophy case. His quest will begin with a first-round match against unseeded Belgian Olivier Rochus.
He'll likely handle Rochus easily, but as the tournament progresses, the top players will put down him as they usually do.
The 30-year-old Ferrer has never advanced beyond the semifinals in 10 previous attempts. He reached the final four in 2011, but lost a classic four-set match after winning the first set against Murray.
Ferrer's 6-4, 6-7 (2), 1-6, 6-7 (2) loss is a microcosm of his career. He's usually capable of pushing the best players, but rarely gets over the hump.
It is a safe bet that he'll meet the same type of end in his upcoming attempt to capture the title in Melbourne. He is very good, but unfortunately never great.
Follow Brian Mazique and Franchiseplay on YouTube and Twitter for reactions, analysis and news from the world of sports and sports video games.