Sport is sometimes cruel and tennis is no exception.
Yesterday at the O2 we witnessed a scenario where one of two players in Group B was going to move into the semi-finals and the other was not, even though there weren’t on opposite sides of the net.
Those two where Juan Martin del Potro and David Ferrer.
Advancing from a round robin group is nothing new to sport but it’s not common in tennis, which was evident in the widespread confusion over the possible scenarios for various players to qualify throughout the past few days.
Yesterday’s schedule however resulted in quite a bizarre scenario where the result of the early match between del Potro and Roger Federer made the result of the night match obsolete, and meant that whatever Ferrer did against Janko Tipsarevic at night only determined the semi-final fixtures, which both players would not be involved in.
It meant Ferrer was the subject of many people’s sympathies at the O2 yesterday especially considering how he beat del Potro in his opening match and fought hard against Federer in his second. But the Spaniard’s fate was decided before he even stepped on court last night, thanks to a determined del Potro.
It was quite a sad ending for Ferrer and even Federer said he felt for him. “I was thinking more about David Ferrer than I was thinking about Andy and Novak to be honest,” said Federer after his loss to del Potro. I really wanted to give him a chance.
“I am more disappointed for him than I am about losing today to be honest.” Classy stuff from Federer who said it was a given he would give 100 per cent in his match even though he was already guaranteed a place in the semis, but he just wanted to give Ferrer a fair chance.
Things took a lighter tone though after that when Federer asked about why Andy Murray managed to beat him quite easily in the Wimbledon finals only three weeks after the Scot had lost to him at Wimbledon. The Swiss response was: “Why not? He’s not like a country club player. He’s very good!” At least now we know that Federer’s got Murray’s back if anyone was to ever doubt his abilities.