Re: Why Did Juan Carlos Ferrero Spiral Out Of Control?
Well, first of all, his performance at Cincy was far from his best stuff. His movement is too sluggish nowadays, so the quality of his shots, especially his forehand, has crumbled. Most of his opponents at Cincy played like fools and couldn't keep a ball in play for more than three or four shots. But basically, his problems started early in 2004 when he got chicken pox. He rested for about a month and started playing again when his body was still weak from the illness. He took a lot of beatings the rest of the year from players he shouldn't have lost to. Lost in the 2nd round of RG where he was defending champ, so his confidence take a severe blow. He also suffered a rib injury while this was going on, so physically, for the rest of the year he was far from 100%. He kept playing tournaments anyway though, but he wasn't able to win more than two matches per week for the rest of the year. Confidence went down. Also, during the Davis Cup final that year, the captain placed Nadal in front of him at the last second to go against Roddick. What that bascially meant to him was that the captain didn't think he was good enough to beat Andy Roddick on clay in Spain. For a guy who was the clay court king recently, that must have hurt his morale.
In 2005 he tried switching racquets. People have different opinions on this, but I feel this hurt his groundstrokes. The power just wasn't there even though it looked like he was trying to crush the ball. The result was that he couldn't finish points or take control when he normally would. I can't remember how many times he couldn't take control of the point when his opponent gave him a clear opportunity to do so. He still seemed very motivated on the court and the exceptional movement was still there, just the power was missing. He nearly beat Federer that year and gave him a tough fight at Wimbledon, so he definitely improved.
2006 is what really confuses me, though. He's looked so apathetic on the court since then, and like I said, his movement is sluggish for some reason. He's not hitting the ball as crisp and smooth as he once did, and so even little guys like Rochus were able to overpower him from the baseline. Basically, I feel his problem may have started with injuries, illnesses, etc., but now after recovering completely he just doesn't seem to have the same drive and energy on the court. He may be able to stay in the top 30 or 20 with the way he plays now, but if he wants to get back into the top 5 he has to start playing with some passion again.