|(Ignacio Colo/La Naci|
Q: You could blame your blood. It's a mixture of Italian and Armenian, isn't it?
David: Yeah, and with that kind of mixture there's no way around being passionate. Pure fire.
Q: And bold. Is it true that you [bungee-] jumped from the tallest tower in Europe? There's also rally-driving, adventures with sharks.
David: Let's see... The part about jumping is true, that was in Austria [Vienna 2004] and I had fun like crazy, throwing myself from the tallest tower [not the tallest in Europe but it was still a 152-metre jump]. And everybody knows that I love cars. Together with a friend I even had a [rally] team. I love it. But the part about the sharks! Let's see if I can make you understand... It gives me the opportunity to say something about it (almost has to laugh). With the sharks, that was inside an aquarium! Come on guys, the risk is zero. I'm embarrassed to talk about it, having to explain these things. What happened was that some people loved to criticise me for it. Then it gets exaggerated and turned into some kind of tall tale.
Q: And what was that criticism about?
David: I was supposedly wasting my time, doing things where I was risking my life. It was not really true but even if it was - what's the problem? It's my life. I've been criticised a lot for getting into a car that was ready to race because people thought that it took away time from my career. And I say, what's wrong with doing what I want to do if I have a couple of days off? If I was crazy about movies then probably no one would say anything about that. But I'm sorry, I like doing all those things that are about adrenaline. I enjoy it and I'm not going to change that, no matter what anybody says. The important thing for me is to enjoy myself. I don't want to be a robot.
Q: It happens sometimes that enjoying yourself isn't compatible with a career that involves many sacrifices. Maybe yours is a very special case.
David: I don't know. I don't analyse these things. I just think that if you're not happy then you can't win anything. Least of all a match. Having fun is the fuel you run on.
Q: What other things do you allow yourself that become this necessary fuel?
David: Simple things. An asado [Argentine barbecue], for example. Obviously, if you can't do it then you can't do it. But if I get the chance to enjoy it then I will, with my heart and soul. Having an asado in Unquillo with family and friends is something sacred. And also, if you can, having some wine. Of course I think that excesses are bad. But all kinds of those. It's bad to overdo it with the training, with the concentration, with resting, with alcohol. And with asados, of course.
Q: They say that you're very good at making asados.
David: No, I only do it sometimes. But those I make turn out well, to be honest. I haven't had any complaints.
Q: Is there a secret to it?
David: I sometimes hear people talk about techniques and over-elaborate stuff with the coal and how to arrange it. But I think that the only secret to it is the butcher. Mine is called Darío Torres.
Q: As we're talking about secrets we might as well move on to intimate topics. We know that you have an eternal girlfriend but we don't know much else.
David: Together for thirteen years. We're getting to know each other!
Q: What needs to happen for you to ask her to marry you?
David: Well, step by step. We already live together.
Q: You're very reserved but that hasn't saved you from getting involved in some media scandals (linking him to models Sofía Zamolo and Victoria Vanucci).
David: The truth? Let them say whatever they want to say. I know what I do. The reality is that I'm happy, in a relationship, and have been for a long time. Of course I'm planning to have a family at some point. But all those nice things I keep to myself. In my village [Unquillo], everyone knows what I'm like. And those media scandals, what can I say? All of those came to nothing simply because they were lies. They were never able to find any proof of it. Anyway, I don't get obsessed with these things or follow them. Everyone focuses on doing their kind of thing. Luckily, I'm very happy with mine.
Q: When did you start to suspect that this kind of fairy tale could happen to you?
David: At age 12, I received approval from Guillermo Vilas, and I travelled around the world. Two years later, we were champions with the Argentine team. From then on I started to realise the dimensions of what was going to happen with me. It was very magical.
Q: How did your family do at that time?
David: Modestly. They all worked together so that I could compete. My brother [Javier] was my coach and prepared me for the world. It was a huge sacrifice for all of them.
Q: Did they make you feel like you were special?
David: They always talked to me about the power of effort and of sacrifice. In tennis, things don't happen because you're special, it's not just about talent. There are many factors. If you're a tough competitor but don't have any other strengths then it won't work. If you have the talent but don't make sacrifices it won't work, either. It's a combination of many different factors. Today, there's a battalion of kids of 14 or 15 years, who hit the ball very well. They all seem to be getting there but then they stop.
Q: What's missing?
David: Winning mentality.
Q: And how you do get that? What exactly does winning mentality mean?
David: I think that it's a quality that you're born with but that you also learn to some extent. You are who you're supposed to be but if you don't have that fire inside of you then it's not going to work. It's rather difficult to explain these things. I find it difficult to put it into words. But I want to stress that point about the inner fire, so powerful that you don't know who sent it to you but it drives you forward.
Q: Then you're talking about magic. Or the stars. Something like that.
David: Something like that.
Q: And what kind of role does fate play?
David: I don't think that there's anything like destiny. Each person makes their own. You are, consciously or unconsciously, the way you want to be.
Q: That might sound daunting to those who haven't had their brush with success.
David: Success is not the same as happiness. If you ask me what's my dream then I'll tell you that it's winning the Davis Cup. But I'm not so foolish as to believe that this is ultimate happiness. It could be, in terms of my profession. A vision that I'd love to play the leading role in.
Q: What other visions are there in your mind?
David: If I look back at the past, I see myself winning the Masters [Cup]. I see my mother and my girlfriend in the stands. Also the Wimbledon final. And a very sad one that has left its mark with me forever was the death of my father.
Q: Do you believe in God?
David: We're a Catholic family but I don't attend mass. I think that things happen as the consequence of other things. I've never believed in coincidence or luck.
Q: No belief in luck...
David: Nothing. You'll never see me wearing the same underpants or the same shirt again because I won a match, wearing them. I also don't believe in bad vibes. I think it's like seeing the glass as being half full or half empty. I don't see it that way, I don't care.
Q: And you also don't care about fear?
David: No, the truth is that I have no fear. I don't even fear death. I try not to think about it. It's because I'm hooked on taking risks, the adrenaline. If I was one for withdrawing to some dark corner then I wouldn't be able to do half the things that I do. I've always been hyperactive. As a boy, I'd drive my mother crazy. I wouldn't sit still for a second.
Q: You're very close to your mom?
David: I lover her with all my heart and soul but we don't always stick together. We send each other text messages, and not all of the time. I used to live with her until two years ago but she's totally independent.
Q: She's not the typical Armenian mother, carrying a tray to your bed.
David: No. She's not Armenian, my grandfather was. But some people think that she is because she's spectacularly good at making Armenian dishes. She learned all the recipes from the family so my brothers and me, we grew up with oriental specialties like Keppe.
David: Of course. The real thing. Raw meat, onions and all the spices. Good power, the way I like it.
Finally, there's an additional part that's a bit like a word association game. It starts with the kind of term or concept David doesn't usually have to deal with in interviews - his looks...
Among the good-looking guys in tennis? I don't think I am. I'm not at all metrosexual. I just use sunscreen so I don't get too red.
Aroma. I love the smell of wet earth. And of mate [Argentine tea].
City. Rome and Paris I always find exciting.
Argentineans. I love my country. I'm of the opinion that the last presidents we've had haven't been that bad or that good. But well. Hopefully, in the future we'll improve in terms of respect. That's what's lacking.
Reading. I like novels. The last one was "El Sillón del Águila" by Carlos Fuentes.
Retirement. Will happen when I start to suffer on court. The day I lose my goals, the desire to compete and to make sacrifices. What will I do then? I'll start a new stage, neither better nor worse. I'll probably stay restless because that's in my DNA.
Friends in tennis. It's definitely a very individualistic sport but I'm friends with basically everyone from Argentina and Spain. Becoming friends with a Czech player, for example, isn't so very likely because it's a matter of culture.
Place in the world. Unquillo forever. Although I come and go that's where I live, in my village. And I'll go back there. There, I'm David, one of them. They're used to seeing me all the time. It's my oasis and my peace.
|(Ignacio Colo/La Nacion)|