Rafael Nadal (ESP) def David Ferrer (ESP) | 63 34 RET
Coming in, David Ferrer knew the 2018 US Open would be his final Grand Slam appearance.
A modest, nose to the grindstone tennis addict, Ferrer earned 27 Tour-level Singles titles. He appeared in 52 career Finals, including the 2013 championship match at Roland Garros. A 3-time Davis Cup Champion, he’s always been revered by fans and fellow athletes for his tenacity and stubborn refusal to quit. Take a listen to what David Beckham had to say about Ferrer during our trophy presentation at the 2015 Qatar ExxonMobil Open.
Oddly enough, in his Swan Song Slam and 1097th Tour-level match, the “Energizer Bunny” tossed-in the towel against long-time friend Rafael Nadal, agonizing pain punishing his left calf. It was David’s first retirement in 258-matches. He last retired during 2014’s Mexico Open in Acapulco, where – up a set – pain in his left thigh ended his Quarterfinal with Kevin Anderson.
Ferocious Ferrer will call it a career
David plans to continue playing through 2019’s clay swing, where he anticipates retiring at home in Spain – after either Barcelona or Madrid. No question, he’ll receive wild cards to both.
Since his first Tour-level match in 2002 – a 1st-Round, deciding-set loss to World #7 Marat Safin in Estoril – David has completely committed to his journey. He’s poured every ounce of effort into his preparation, exceeding all expectations…or lack thereof. In just his second Tour-level event, again in 2002, he reached the Final in Umag, defeating World #14 David Nalbandian in Round-1 before falling to Spanish legend Carlos Moya in the championship match. Two months later, he captured his first title in Bucharest.
Since then, he’s finished the year ranked inside the top-10 seven times, reached a career-high of World #3, and was a Finalist at the ATP World Tour Finals in his 2007 debut. At the Olympic Games in London, he and partner Feliciano Lopez competed in the Bronze medal match. And his Davis Cup record is OBSCENE. The man lost only five Davis Cup matches in 12-years; and with his 28 victories, lifted Spain to three Davis Cup titles.
Perhaps Ferrer never motivated massive ticket sales, but make no mistake about it: David Ferrer always gave fans their money’s worth.
NEXT: Vasek Pospisil -88- (CAN)
In Round-2, Rafael Nadal faces Qualifier Vasek Pospisil, who took-out Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko earlier in the day. The World #1 has faced Vasek once before, three years ago in Beijing’s Round of 16. Nadal earned a tight 2-set victory 76(3) 64.
Like that match in Beijing, Pospisil will need to serve out of his mind to give himself a chance. But even then – now that Nadal has perfected the service return from the East River – the defending champion is a “big ask” for the World #88 on Wednesday.
 Rafael Nadal -01- (ESP)
He is the defending and 3-time US Open Champion…and is undeniably, one of the greatest to ever play the game. This Spring, at Roland Garros, he again defended his title, earning an unprecedented 11th French Open title. Combined with 2 Wimbledon victories, an Australian Open win, and 3 titles here in New York, he is a 17-time Grand Slam Champion. A 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist and 4-time Davis Cup Champion, with his US Open Series victory in Toronto earlier this Summer, he now owns a remarkable 80 career tour-level Singles titles. And it was here, 8-years-ago, at just 24-years-old, he became the 7th man in tennis history – and youngest in the Open Era – to earn the career Grand Slam. From Mallorca, Spain – Please welcome 3-time US Open Champion and the #1 Player in the World, Rafael Nadal.
David Ferrer -148- (ESP)
This 36-year-old has been ranked as high as #3 in the world, and reached his first Grand Slam Semifinal right here at the 2007 US Open. Now a 5-time Semifinalist at the Majors; in 2013, he played in his first Grand Slam Final at Roland Garros. Last year, he reached his 52nd career Tour level Final in Bastad, and captured his 27th ATP World Tour Singles title overall. A 3-time Davis Cup Champion, earlier this year he lifted his country into the 2018 Davis Cup Semifinals with an epic 4-hour and 51-minute, deciding-set victory over Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany. Competing in his 16th US Open, from Spain – Please welcome 2-time US Open Semifinalist, David Ferrer.