Former World No. 3 David Ferrer revealed Roger Federer impressed him more than all the other players he faced during his career. The Spaniard also described the Big 3 of Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic as the "three greatest champions" in the history of tennis.
During an illustrious career, Ferrer won 27 ATP titles, including the 2012 Paris Masters, and was part of three Spanish Davis Cup winning teams (2008, 2009 and 2011). He was also a runner-up at the 2013 French Open and won 734 matches before retiring in 2019.
Ferrer lost all of his 17 matches with the great Swiss, who he first played in Vienna in 2003 and last faced at the Canadian Open in 2017. The Spaniard won six of his 32 meetings with Nadal and five of his 21 clashes with Djokovic.
In an interview with Ubitennis, Ferrer discussed the challenges of playing in the same era as the Big 3 and the impact it had on him.
"I really don't know if I could have done more, but I'm sure I improved my game thanks to them," Ferrer said. "I learned a lot by observing and challenging them on the pitch. I have no regrets, because in the end I played in the same period as the three greatest champions in history. I loved my tennis career very much and tried to give my best until the day of my retirement. I am very proud of this."
The 39-year-old, now the Barcelona Open tournament director, also spoke about sharing his career with Nadal - the greatest ever Spanish player.
"Yes, I could have been [Spanish] number one [without Nadal]," Ferrer said. "But I am sure that, thanks to Rafa, Spanish tennis has achieved greater popularity today. I am satisfied with where I have come and that I have had the opportunity to play and [win] the Davis Cup with Rafa. I learned a lot from him and his team, he's a great friend."
When asked which player impressed him the most during his career, Ferrer explained what he feels sets the legendary Swiss apart from everyone else he competed against.
"Roger Federer, because he made tennis seem like a simple sport, while any professional knows that hitting those shots on the court is very difficult," Ferrer added.
Roger Federer has confirmed his participation for Laver Cup 2022
Roger Federer has confirmed his participation - along with Rafael Nadal - for the 2022 Laver Cup, which is due to take place from 23-25 September in London. The Swiss has not played since losing to Hubert Hurkacz in the Wimbledon quarterfinals in July.
The 40-year-old underwent a third procedure on his right knee in 18 months last August after aggravating the injury during the grass court season. This forced him to miss the 2021 edition of the Laver Cup in Boston in September.