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Spaniard David Ferrer celebrates his 700th match win on the ATP World Tour in Rome.

Tribute: Ferrer Records 700th Match Win In Rome

ATPWorldTour.com pays tribute to David Ferrer, who has recorded his 700th match win.

The body may be sore these days, but David Ferrer, who built his career on tremendous strength and fierce competitive instincts, remains the consummate professional: willing to work, living and breathing the sport that has shaped his life.

Today, at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, one of Spain’s greatest exports became the 13th player in ATP World Tour history to reach the 700 match wins milestone (700-341) with victory over Feliciano Lopez in the first round. Having recorded his first win, 6-4, 6-3 over David Nalbandian, at the 2002 Croatia Open Umag, Ferrer now joins Rafael Nadal (840) as the only Spaniard to reach the 700 match wins mark.

“The number indicates that I have been a very consistent player over many years, and many matches,” Ferrer told ATPWorldTour.com. “It’s a very big figure, very difficult to achieve. I am very proud and humbled by the achievement. If someone had told me at the start of my career that I would be in this situation, I wouldn’t have believed it.”

Combining guile and an incredible work ethic, 5’9” Ferrer improved and evolved from a traditional Spanish clay-court specialist to battle the goliaths and cannonball servers of recent times, on every surface, and lift 26 tour-level trophies. Ferocious and energetic, Ferrer continues to attack relentlessly from the baseline. His forehand and return of serve helped him to a career-high No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Rankings (8 July 2013) - among seven Top 10 year-end finishes.

“I am very proud to be David’s coach,” Francisco Fogues told ATPWorldTour.com. “If you have a look at his numbers, you’ll see that just 12 players have more wins than him and he is part of a group of 10 players who have played more than 1,000 matches. That speaks for itself. I think the most difficult thing nowadays is consistency and he has had it.

“The key is that he has adapted to the evolution of tennis. He has tried to be better and the proof is that he has won tournaments on every surface. David is not a great server, a huge handicap, but I would dare say that he is one of the greatest returners in history.”

700 MATCH WINS CLUB (SINCE 1972)

PLAYER MATCH WINS
1) Jimmy Connors (USA) 1,256
2) Roger Federer* (SUI) 1,099
3) Ivan Lendl (CZE/USA) 1,068
4) Guillermo Vilas (ARG) 929
5) John McEnroe (USA) 877
6) Andre Agassi (USA) 870
7) Rafael Nadal* (ESP) 840
8) Stefan Edberg (SWE) 801
9) Ilie Nastase (ROM) 780
10) Novak Djokovic* (SRB) 767
11) Pete Sampras (USA) 762
12) Boris Becker (GER) 713
13) David Ferrer* (ESP) 700 (in Rome 2R)

* Active player

Tommy Robredo, a childhood friend, recalled to ATPWorldTour.com, “As a junior, maybe mentally he was a little bit crazy. But when he moved to Valencia, he calmed down on the court and all of his game exploded. He is a very honest guy. You know what he will do and think. He is funny sometimes, the way he acts and reacts.”

Failure to apply himself on the practice court as a teenager led to Ferrer questioning his future. Javier Piles, his long-time coach until 2013, locked his protégé in a two-by-two metre cupboard, with only bread and a bottle of water. Soon, Ferrer pleaded to be released. A week spent on a building site, pushing around bricks for 30 euros, resolved Ferrer to dedicating himself to tennis. Nineteen years on, it was a smart decision.

Victory over Juan Martin del Potro for Spain in the 2011 Davis Cup final in Seville, triggered a change in Ferrer’s mentality. “Not just because we ended up winning the title,” admitted Ferrer. “But it was a great match. [Captain] Albert [Costa] made me switch up my gears. Those small details made me believe in myself.”

His lone ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title came 11 months later, in November 2012, at the BNP Paribas Masters (d. Janowicz). That triumph and his 2013 runner-up finish at Roland Garros (l. to Nadal) were warmly welcomed by the tennis world, which appreciates his tenacity as a player and humble nature off the court.

“If I had to pick an ATP victory, it would be at Paris Bercy,” admitted the softly-spoken Ferrer. “I have always been a very regular sort of player, but until 2012 I hadn’t won a big title, even though I played in quite a few finals. Winning lifted a weight off my shoulders.”

FERRER'S MATCH WINS MILESTONES

Match Win No. & Opponent
Tournament (Round)
No. 1 - d. David Nalbandian
2002 Umag (1R)
No. 100 - d. Mariano Puerta
2005 Masters 1000 Madrid (3R)
No. 200 - d. Tomas Berdych
2007 Masters 1000 Paris (3R)
No. 300 - d. Igor Andreev
2010 Buenos Aires (QF)
No. 400 - d. Radek Stepanek
2011 Tokyo (QF)
No. 500 - d. Nicolas Almagro
2013 Australian Open (QF)
No. 600 - d. Thomaz Bellucci
2014 Valencia (QF)
No. 700 - d. Feliciano Lopez
2017 Masters 1000 Rome (1R)

Tommy Haas, still plying his trade at 39, told ATPWorldTour.com, “I just have the highest respect for his work ethic, the way he plays every point. A little bit of a small Nadal in some ways. He just uses the most out of his opportunity and just never gives up. He makes you play every single point and he makes you beat him. He's a great fighter. I know it's getting harder for him now as well, reaching a certain age and stuff, but he's a terrific player.”

Milos Raonic, who continues to strive to get the best out of himself, told ATPWorldTour.com, “He's a fantastic competitor. He does so many things well, and he's one player that you really look up to and if the question comes: ‘Who do you think has really maximised and gotten the most out of themselves?’ He is one of the four or five names that comes out. So you have a lot of respect for that and a lot of admiration for that. It's something I hope that I can one day say about myself as well.”

Achilles and elbow injuries have lingered on Ferrer’s journey from 600 to 700 match wins (100-50), from his Valencia second-round victory over Fernando Verdasco on 24 October 2014 to today, but as Robredo says, and the tennis world will echo, “He thoroughly deserves his place at the top of the sport.”