ASB Classic boss reveals extent of David Ferrer's debilitating injury

For the past 14 years, David Ferrer has committed himself to the ASB Classic, taking out the title four times.

As his career draws to a close after announcing his retirement at the end of last year, it was a disappointing blow for the Spaniard when he was forced to pull out of his second-round match with a calf injury.

His attempt to complete the game however, did not go unnoticed with Karl Budge, who praised Ferrer for his commitment and loyalty to the event after taking to the court with a ruptured calf muscle.

"He was at five percent and still tried to get out and play more points," Budge told Newshub.

"He's been like that when he was number three in the world all the way through to last night."

The value of that to a tournament director is "just the best," says Budge.

"I can't tell you the value of someone like David Ferrer - he's just done so much for this tournament, when we've had some high-profile guys pull out this week because they were sort of 90 percent.

"That sort of loyalty, to get 14 years of service out of one guy, particularly when the majority of that he was firmly entrenched in the top ten - it just doesn't happen."

"It will be a highlight of my career playing a part in that," Budge (left) said of Ferrer's final experience at the ASB Classic.
"It will be a highlight of my career playing a part in that," Budge (left) said of Ferrer's final experience at the ASB Classic. Photo credit: Supplied.

Budge says the interaction on Wednesday was one of the more humbling moments of his career after watching Ferrer hobble off centre-court and calling it quits in his last appearance at the competition.

Despite cruel circumstances surrounding his departure, Budge says the final send-off turned into a very special moment.

"It will be a highlight of my career playing a part in that." 

As a gesture of thanks and appreciation, Ferrer gifted Budge the racket from the last ball he ever hit in the competition.

"That will certainly have a pretty proud place on the mantel piece," he said.

Ferrer won four titles at the event, his first in 2007, before claiming three-straights between 2011 and 2013.

The 36-year-old athlete picked his six favourite events to close out his career and included the ASB Classic as one of them.

Ferrer recently revealed the City of Sails contest is his favourite while touring, making for a "pretty special time" for organisers of the ASB Classic to host him one final time.

Budge said despite "a few challenges" he's happy overall with how well the event has gone so far this year.

"When the weather shines in this place, we know we can put on a pretty awesome show, it's been good."

Newshub.