Fernando Verdasco is a Spanish tennis player who is well-known for his big forehand and explosive all-round game.
Verdasco has lived in the shadow of his great countryman Rafael Nadal for much of his career, but has managed to shine through often enough to create a unique identity for himself. His epic battle against Nadal himself in the 2009 Australian Open semifinal has gone down in history as one of the greatest matches ever played.
Best finish at each of the four Grand Slams:
Australian Open: Semifinalist (2009)
French Open: 4th Round (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014, 2017, 2018)
Wimbledon: Quarterfinalist (2013)
US Open: Quarterfinalist (2009, 2010)
Highest Ranking: No. 7
Style of play
Verdasco is a supremely aggressive player who likes to take almighty swings at the ball on each shot.
The Spaniard hits with a huge amount of topspin on his forehand, which can rival that produced by Rafael Nadal. His backhand is a more conventional two-handed rally shot, but he can hit it on the rise on occasion.
Verdasco stands behind the baseline on clay, but moves up into the court on faster surfaces. He doesn't approach the net too often though, and relies instead on his baseline strokeplay to take the initiative in rallies.
Strengths and weaknesses
Verdasco's forehand is easily one of the best in the world, and a huge weapon in his arsenal. He can make it dive-bomb all over the court with the tremendous topspin he imparts on it; he has been known to overpower even the biggest hitters with his forehand.
Verdasco's backhand is also quite big, and his ability to step forward and take it early enables him to keep up the attack off both wings. The two-hander can be a bit erratic at times though, and it also lacks the variety of some of his peers.
The Spaniard's general lack of alternative plans has been considered a weakness by many. He usually fails to change things up if his power game is not working, and players who can make him come to the net have been known to achieve success with that tactic.
Verdasco also doesn't always make full use of his left-handedness on his serve. While he uses the typical slider out wide in the ad court to good effect, he often opts for spin rather than pace on his other serves, which gives returners enough time to neutralize the point.
Verdasco was born in Madrid, and started playing tennis at the age of four. His parents Jose and Olga are in the restaurant business, and he has two sisters named Ana and Sara.
Verdasco was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) early in his childhood. But he never received treatment, for fear of falling foul of tennis' doping regulations. As he grew older, he developed some techniques to help him focus better on the court, like visualizing romantic scenes and listening to soothing music in between points.
Verdasco's wife is named Ana Boyer; the two got married in December 2017. Boyer is the half-sister of famous singer Enrique Iglesias.
Verdasco may not have achieved the dizzying heights that some expected of him, but considering everything that he's had to deal with, his career is worthy of praise. Moreover, he has inscribed his name in the history books forever with that barn-burning Australian Open 2009 semifinal; shot-making of that quality has not been seen too often before or since.
Social media presence:
Fernando Verdasco Instagram: @ferverdasco
Fernando Verdasco Twitter: @FerVerdasco