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By Chris Oddo | Wednesday May 8, 2019

The last headband hit the court on Wednesday in Madrid.

A piece of the man who gave it all like nobody ele.

David Ferrer’s career came to a close in front of a packed house of adoring fans at the Madrid Open as he fell to Alexander Zverev 6-4 6-1 but spirits were soaring throughout the contest and on into the match’s aftermath as the legendary Spaniard gave a rousing speech that honored friends, family and those who played a pivotal role in shaping Ferrer’s career.

Ferrer: Insatiable, Inspiring Competitor for the Ages

The headband, dropped at the service line by Ferrer after he departed each tournament in this his last season, represented the way ferocious manner in which Ferrer conducted his career—if there ever was a player who left every piece of himself on the tennis court, it was the indefatigable Spaniard.

He finishes his career with 734 ATP wins, 27 titles, three extremely meaningful Davis Cup crowns, 293 weeks in the ATP’s Top 10 and 1110 matches played, each an opportunity for him to provide a template for future generations on how to give the proper, full-throttle, heart-and-soul effort on a tennis court.

If Ferrer ever lacked anything during his illustrious career, and let’s be clear, he didn’t lack much, he more than made up with it with the bristling, buoyant effort that characterized his game. He was the ultimate competitor, never knowing when he was beaten, always summoning something extra -- some indescribable fury that guided him from point to point and match to match unfailingly. This is why Ferrer is universally loved and revered by his peers, by fans and by journalists. He is the ideal competitor in a world of flawed replicas. Everywhere in tennis players seek to produce the kind of determined, dogged and inspired effort that Ferrer delivered in a night in night out basis, but nowhere is it done like Ferrer did it.

And as the last ball was struck on Wednesday in Madrid there was the accompanying realization that Ferrer was a player who outshined his own brilliant resum̩: he is a legend not because of wins or losses or trophies or swashbuckling good lucks or an easy going humility Рhe is a legend because he competed so perfectly, so honorably, for so long and in such a manner that inspired us all.

And so it was only fitting that tears were flowing on Wednesday as we said goodbye to one of the true warriors of tennis, for there may never be another one like him.



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