David Ferrer - unassuming step by step improver who has finally secured a Masters title. Blessed with quick feet, David is a man who decided to make it in tennis despite his height and aesthetically dubious technique. I say aesthetically because if it works for a player it is good and too often coaches change technique because it "don't look right" without first evaluating if it does the job effectively.
Tennis has changed - athletically more than anything. The strength and speed of the 21st century tennis player is evolving continuously and the pain a top player is willing to endure to achieve athletic prowess is beyond what most people are prepared to take. In order to pursue their dream players cannot endure the sacrifices unless they truly love playing tennis.
David Ferrer has endured and as much as Nadal created an intensity of focus and a mentality of fight until the last point is won like few players. His game has two weapons: speed of footwork and mental strength. As he said himself of Federer "His game has so many ways to hurt me it is difficult for me to win but I'm getting closer" even in the face of a far bigger and more versatile game he has not stopped trying to genuinely find improvements to one day beat Roger (0-14 to date). It is this never say never attitude that could see David sneak the French Open next year. Clay is his best chance at a Slam as the ability to wear down opponents is most effective. He has adapted and returns serve closer in, taking it earlier and being more aggressive when the ball is shorter. His earlier returns are part of his improving indoor play.
Winning Master Series events and Grand Slams over the age of 30 will become more common as slower developers both mentally and physically will continue to improve and strive for greatness into their mid thirties. Tennis is a complex sport that takes years to put all the pieces together with the added complication of building the body to handle the stress of high level tennis.
The phenoms will always come through young, players with an immense natural confidence and feel for what to do on the court but by and large it is a long road of "loving work" to make a living at tennis. Ferrer is the example of just getting on with it - same coach, same ethic throughout his career. Keep getting better and good things happen.......even a Masters series win on an unlikely surface for David, the Paris indoor hard courts.