The Fall of Hewitt and Ferrero?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by chris1992, May 14, 2007.

  1. chris1992

    chris1992 Semi-Pro

    May 13, 2007
    I adore both of their styles of play and their general tactics but what has happened to both of them? Both former world no 1s and since then, they have dropped. I understand Hewitt has had injuries this year but since he lost the Aussie Open to Safin a few years back, he hasn't been on good form since. He got ripped apart by Baghdatis at Wimbledon last year and i wonder if he will ever win another Grand slam, with players like nadal and djokovic out there?

    As for ferrero, since changing racket brands, he has never looked a contender to win a grandslam, more of a quarter final player.
  2. onkystomper

    onkystomper Hall of Fame

    Jul 20, 2006
    At the very highest echelons of the game losing even 5% of your speed around the court can move you from a top 5 player to top 25 player. I feel this is what happened to both the players you mention. They are still great but just cant get that one extra ball which is the difference between winning and losing close matches
  3. It's far more common for a player to have one or two banner years, pick up a slam trophy, then fall off to be supplanted by younger, fresher, more eager talent. More common than extended reigns atop the rankings a la Sampras, Connors, Federer. It takes a lot of work, devotion, dedication, and a grind on the body to stay in the top 5 and be a slam contender year in, year out. Tennis is a young man's game.
  4. helloworld

    helloworld Hall of Fame

    Jul 5, 2006
    When you're 5% slower, it's not only one extra ball that makes the difference. It makes the whole match different since you'll have less time to prepare for every shot coming at you.
  5. backhander

    backhander Rookie

    Mar 3, 2004
    Fererro has also declined in looks lol, he used to be a pretty good looking guy, but the last I saw him I dunno what happened. I used to love his game too, used to be my favorite player on tour.
  6. Turning Pro

    Turning Pro Professional

    Jul 1, 2005
    Hewitt isn't gone. He'll be back in the top 5 soon. Trust.
  7. aramis

    aramis Semi-Pro

    Jul 30, 2005
    Hewitt and Ferrero lost confidence for different reasons. As a result they both lost their awesome footspeed. This naturally affects the quality of their groundstrokes. Ferrero is unable to control points with the big forehand and Hewitt makes too many UE's. I saw Ferrero in Hamburg, though, and his form is looking ominous, almost like the way he used to play. He plays Safin next and possibly Fed after so we can see where he stands. I think he'll make the 2nd week of RG.
  8. kingdaddy41788

    kingdaddy41788 Hall of Fame

    May 7, 2006
    Houston, Texas
    Hewitt got married, which tends to be a career-killer. But we'll see.
  9. !Tym

    !Tym Hall of Fame

    May 6, 2004
    Actually, I wouldn't be so sure of that, not saying it can't happen though. Being a top player is all about not only consistently playing well, BUT *pulling out victories even on your BAD days*. Everyone can and WILL have bad days even during their peak of confidence, the difference is that when a player is DEEP DOWN confident like during their peak, they walk out onto the court EXPECTING to win even if they're off. That's one of the huge differences.

    If you look at EVERY top player who's fallen from grace due to injuries, age, burnout, etc.; they ALL still put up the OCCASIONAL great match in which they can go toe to toe with current top players (see an old, beatup, and injury-haggard Magnus Larsson taking peak Hewitt to the absolute limit at the Australian Open, UNDER THE SUN no less, at a time when he was just struggling to win challenger matches) even beating them on occasion, sometimes even beating them soundly (see Chang over Haas near the end).

    The HUGE difference is that after one encouraging showing, they'll just go back to second guessing themselves and losing to guys who are relative nobodies.

    Both Pioline and Bruguera said VERY similar things toward the tail end of their careers, both coming off surgery, and getting up their in age.

    Bruguera said that he was playing like a top player again in practice, and that he had just nearly beat Moya and Ferrero, but that the difference was he got tentative on the key points in the end, but that he just needed to start playing more matches again, get match tough, and he'd be a top player again. Didn't happen that way, instead he basically ended up retiring not that much later and went into semi-retirement mode and said I just don't have the motivation and my injury prone body won't let me train like you need to train day in and day out to be a top player in this sport. He basically, said I quit not long after saying I'm playing like a top player in practice again.

    Pioline did the same thing his last year. His retirement match was a doubles match with Kuerten in France, and he lost in the first round of freaking qualies to an unheard of player at the US Open and that was his last official singles match before he said, I quit too! He was seen hitting balls out of the stands in anger or something like that after losing that match...what a way to go out, ha? Remember, that classic match he and Guga played under the lights at the US Open that one year?

    It's amazing how easy it is to go from that to losing in the first round of qualies to someone you've never heard of before and chucking the ball out of the stadium.

    YET, that same year, he was just coming back from wrist surgery, and said I'm feeling great and really optimistic after he played Jiri Novak, who was in his prime back then, and a top ten player. He nearly beat him in three, but like Bruguera, he said the difference in the match was that I got tentative on the key points in the third. He like Bruguera, however, said that this match shows that I'm playing like a top player again and Novak's a great player, and that if I just play a few more matches, get my match toughness back, I'll be back in no time...beep, wrong.

    Didn't happen that way, instead of building on an encouraging showing against a current top player, what happens is that former top players discover that they have to face current journeyman players right after. These nobody players maybe nobodies, but their games are solid and very dangerous regardless. They're also hungry for a big name "scalp" to tell their grandkids one day, and realize that they'll NEVER have a better opportunity to pounce on a big name scalp then when he's licking his wounds, unsure of himself, and vulnerable.

    In other words, the nobody players may not always be able to get up for playing another nobody player, but they will ALWAYS get up for playing a "name" player, of which there are VERY few in tennis, such is the nature of all individual sports predicated on the "star system." And yet, they will also not go out their intimidated and AFRAID of the *former* top player anymore either, like say the AURA of a Pete Sampras or Jim Courier in his prime. During a top players peak, the aura and HYPE alone is often said to be enough to handicap matches so that the top player ends up starting each set a break up, the shear intimidation factor, whether imagined or not, results in the nobody players quaking in their booties and flat out DONATING games and points right off the bat before they can "settle" in and actually focusing on what they need to do to beat the HUMAN BEING, rather than the tennis God, standing across from them at the net.

    In short, peak performance, or the "zone" state, is predicated on two things. 1) You need enough adrenaline to "get up" for a match, rock hard, if you know what I mean. 2) You can't be so intimidated of sleeping with Cyndi Crawford that you'll only be able to get it up, like a sorrowful...limp...white flag dangling in the breeze of a fan on a hot summer night...if you know what I mean.

    What this all translates to in laymen's terms is simply that nobody players who make up the rest of the tour are FAR more likely to play their absolute best against a former top player, which makes a top player feel even more lousy, it makes them feel like John Wayne castrated, it makes them want to hold a stuffed animal on changeovers, it makes them sad...but much more than all that, it makes former top players INTIMIDATED and fearful to be playing this nobody who pays them no deference. It's terribly disconcerting in other words to have the shoe on the OTHER FOOT for once.

    This results in former top players like Muster getting very, very frustrated, and then suddenly just up and quiting one day without much warning.
    It happened to Bruguera, Muster, Chang, Courier, Berasategui, Lendl, Edberg, Rios, and Pioline all in the end (and it's happening to Guga too now, the challenger guys don't even fear him fact, they're beating him). In fact, it's really a quite common scenario actually and quite logical when you think about it.

    I really feel that being a top player is all about the alpha male syndrome. When you can LEGITIMATELY give off that air, AND the other players in the locker room believe it, then you're bad news on a tennis the colloquial sense of man are you wreaking havoc on your peers and making them wet their panties before they DARE step onto the court with you...RUFF, RUFF!!
    Last edited: May 14, 2007
  10. TheNatural

    TheNatural Legend

    Jan 27, 2005
  11. aramis

    aramis Semi-Pro

    Jul 30, 2005
    Good point. That kind of reminds of something JCF said a short while ago. When asked whether or not he felt he was at the same level as before, he said something along the lines that nowadays (with less confidence) he has to play a really clean match in order to win, while before he could play a sloppy match at a grand slam and still win easily. And it's not like the competition is much different; most of the guys he's been losing to the last few years are veterans like himself.
  12. Taram_Nifas

    Taram_Nifas Rookie

    Aug 4, 2005
    I second the observation that Ferrero is degrading in "looks" as well. Before he seemed more robust and healthy, now he seems gaunt and frail. Usually once you get to your late 20s you start to put on some bulk like Federer is now, but JFC looks like he's actually thinner and palid.
  13. Buuurnz

    Buuurnz Rookie

    Jan 28, 2006
    Hamburg / Germany
    ferrero got injured on his wrist and never really came back as strong as he was before....but he is on a good way and playing pretty good tennis!He's a great guy!

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