David Ferrer: from the track to the office

The former world No. 3 is the director of the ATP 500 clay court tournament

April 09, 2024

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David Ferrer finished his career with a 30-15 record in Barcelona.
By Staff

Five years have passed since the public at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell last saw David Ferrer play on the courts of the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona-1899. What, perhaps, no one knew then is that the former No. 3 in the PIF ATP Rankings would soon become director of this ATP 500 clay court tournament.

Coincidence of fate or not, that farewell in 2019 was against Rafael Nadal, the most successful player in Barcelona with 12 crowns and, precisely, the rival who prevented him from lifting the Conde de Godó Trophy to the sky in even four finals.

In 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012, the final on Catalan clay was the same: Nadal against Ferrer. And the result too. “In the end I lost all the finals, but perhaps 2011 was a match where I had many opportunities to win,” the Alicante native confesses to “In 2008 I lost in three sets, but I think I was far from beating Rafa.”

The dominance of the Balearic during this century helped him to have the center court bear his name today. And Nadal was not only a wall for Ferrer, but also for the rest of the title contenders in Barcelona.

Of course, the current tournament director saw how his compatriot separated him from a title up to eight times. Some of them, Roland Garros (2013) or the ATP Masters 1000 in Rome (2010) and Monte Carlo (2011). However, Ferrer only sees positive aspects in his on-court rivalry with Nadal.

“At least, a Godó,” jokes the man from Alicante when asked how many titles he would have without Nadal. “Rafa made me be a better tennis player, without a doubt. Be more ambitious, want to improve and evolve my tennis. I saw it in him and those aspects of Rafa, being such a special player, made me want to copy things from him that helped me be a very regular and consistent player.”

David Ferrer/Rafael Nadal

Beyond the unforgettable episodes of the Lexus ATP Head2Head against Nadal, in the form of those four finals, Ferrer outlined a long career in the tournament that he directs today. In total there were 15 participations and the first of them dates back to 2003, when he had just turned 21 years old.

“I remember my debut against Albert Portas (Court 1), since it is a tournament that I dreamed of playing in since I was six years old, when I went with my parents to see my idols play Godó,” the man from Alicante recalls before adding: “I am also left with the affection that I always received from the public in Barcelona and from the club, the RCTB.”

Now, without the racket in his hand, he still feels that affection in a tournament that became his work office. His experience as a player is a great value that he applies in the direction of the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell.

“I would say that the change from player to director, on a personal level, is something very rewarding,” he says. “You learn to see how a tournament is managed and the great work behind it. Working as a team and seeing how professional the people who work to make a one-week tournament are, where they spend the whole year taking care of the smallest detail.”

“When you are a player you are not aware of everything that is behind a tournament, so that you have all the facilities to play,” adds Ferrer. “And it’s normal, the player is only focused on his tennis and his day to day life.”

All the details are prepared for the 71st edition of the tournament, which is just around the corner. “My role is to make the player feel at home and that the courts, transportation, hotels, facilities for family members and schedules are the best for them, although many factors influence, such as the tournament itself, television and the public also have their interests.”

“In the end, you learn to deal with it all,” he explains. “It is a job where I feel very grateful for the opportunity to learn from another field.”

In 2024, David Ferrer welcomes a luxury lineup that includes Nadal himself, the current champion Carlos Alcaraz (2022-23), Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev. Almost nothing.


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