Bridging gap to "Big Four" proving too tough for the rest

Fri Jan 25, 2013 7:11am EST
 

By Simon Cambers

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - David Ferrer has won 19 titles and reached the semi-finals in three of the last five grand slams, yet for all his success, the Spaniard seems further away than ever from claiming one of the sport's major prizes.

"I am trying to do my best every match," the world number five lamented. "But I know they are better than me. What can I do?"

Ferrer's honest assessment came after a 6-2 6-2 6-1 demolition at the hands of world number one Novak Djokovic led to his latest grand slam semi-final failure at the Australian Open on Thursday.

Djokovic's dominant performance provided yet more evidence that there is a growing "us versus them" divide on the men's professional circuit.

Although Ferrer will replace the injured Rafa Nadal at number four when the new rankings are released on Monday, everyone knows that Djokovic, Roger Federer, Nadal and Andy Murray have set themselves apart from the rest.

"You have three tours," former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic told a small group of reporters.

"One for the top four, then a second with Ferrer,(Juan Martin) Del Potro, (Tomas) Berdych and (Jo-Wilfried) Tsonga... and then a tour for the rest of the guys," the Croatian added.

"It's kind of funny. We all know who's going to be in the semis and finals, more or less. I would like to see one of these guys... Tsonga, Berdych or Del Potro maybe stepping in and doing some damage but it's too hard."   Continued...

 
David Ferrer of Spain reacts during his men's singles semi-final match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, January 24, 2013. REUTERS/Quinn Rooney/Pool