Madrid: Third-seeded German Alexander Zverev knocked out David Ferrer 6-4, 6-1 on Wednesday night at the Mutua Madrid Open, ending the Spaniard’s legendary career that saw him reach No. 3 in the ATP Rankings and win 27 tour-level titles, including 15 on clay.
The late-night Spanish crowd was amped and eager for Ferrer to extend his retirement tour for at least one more match. The packed La Caja Magica showered the 37-year-old, whose historic work ethic made him beloved by all, with chants of “Ferru! Ferru! Ferru!”
But Zverev, after a nervy start, played some of the best tennis he’s shown all season and began the defence of his ATP Masters 1000 title with a convincing straight-sets win. Ferrer leaves the game as one of the most beloved players and with a reputation for being one of the most respectful and hard-working players on the ATP Tour.
“It’s been a very emotional night. It’s been completely different to any other important moment in my life that I have experienced previously. I was not expecting it.
“I never expected a goodbye or farewell like today. I tried to play at a high level during the last year, but a day like today, people at work tomorrow, everyone stays here to support me and that is something that I will only have in my mind and in my heart. It’s something I will never forget,” Ferrer said.
“It’s the only match that I have lost and I’m not very sad. Whenever I lost a match in the past, I left very sad. Today I’m not sad. Today is a day that I want to enjoy, and I’m very happy to be able to enjoy a day like today.”
Nadal overcomes Auger-Aliassime
Rafael Nadal came through against Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 6-3 under less than ideal conditions on Wednesday to start his journey in Madrid.
“It’s a day to be very satisfied, very happy. I managed to win. I managed to win in two sets [against] an opponent, who was not easy, and the day was not the best. It was windy and cold,” Nadal said. “Of course there have been positive things. I think that my backhand has been really [going] well and other things. There are many things to improve, of course.”