Friday, May 29, 2009

New David Interviews



Cordoba-based La Voz Interior and Cadena3 have published a new round of interviews with David, with the two articles from La Voz including the pictures that can be seen here (thanks, tennisace). Here's what David had to say...
"Life is not really normal because I'm still on crutches but I'm trying to move, to do something and not stay still. The first few days I mostly spent in bed, but the development was good. I can walk a little."

About his possible return to the courts in five or six months, he said that today it's still "very early" to fix a date, since with the recovery, you have to see from day to day. But still he expects to play again in "four or six months".

"For the moment, I enjoy having some peace without travelling. But in a few months I'll be feeling the anxiety of wanting to play again. We're doing everything the doctors say, so it's all going well."

"Tennis players know that their career is a very short one."
(LaVoz.com.ar)

Q: You look very good.

David: Because I'm on crutches? (Laughs.) Though everything went well, it's still going slow. But we'll maintain the correct procedure, even if it's going better than I expected. We'll need to see in a month and a half when you get tired of doing those 'little exercises' where the physical effort is zero.

Q: You've started early, doing exercises.

David: The cartilage was in a better state than expected. Still, I spent 15 days with one leg up. As all of this started a year ago, we were already trying to protect that area and it recovered quickly because I was better prepared.

Q: There was no anxiety about being able to play again.

David: No, I'll start playing again next year. Maybe get good results, maybe not. Sometimes you feel bad and play a great tournament, and vice versa. It's all relative.

Q: How do you imagine your return?

David: I will have to gain a little confidence in the leg, the hip. To feel that it's okay, that it doesn't hurt. Then I can aim at winning something. When it's like that, when I get closer to that day, then I'll really want to play again.
(LaVoz.com.ar)

"It never crossed my mind to say - that's it. Although there are many stages of the year where you feel tired and look forward to the end of the season. It's like everything is complicated because it's been the same routine for years. No pauses, no vacations, all year round you live with the same routine. And you only get 10 days off per year. The other day, I remembered that it's been 13 years since I had a full month of vacation."

"I'm leading a normal life, on crutches, but at least I'm not as restricted in my movement anymore as I was directly after surgery. I'm relaxed. It will be a long recovery and we must be patient. It's only been 15 days, two of those in Cordoba. We'll have to see if the anxiety to come back will get to me after two months of inactivity."

"Nobody tells you anything. I think it'll have to be between four and six months. But it's different for everybody and it depends on how things will develop. Everything is very slow. It will depend on whether the exercises are effective. We're still a long way away from a comeback."

"I still have the same goals. The Davis Cup is a dream and always will be. I think I should review these things, depending on how well I'll be able to play on the tour. But realistically speaking, that's all still a very long way away. Right now, I enjoy being with my friends and my family."

"I'm not following a strict regime or have to work hard, day and night. I don't care as much as when I'm on the tour."

"Rafa is a friend. It's not surprising, the incredible things he does. Today, he's the undisputed number 1 and that makes me happy because he's a great person."

About Delpo
"It's all okay. We're not great friends but we're all right."

About getting married
"Not marriage, no. We're very much okay the way we are. We've been together for 10 years but we are modern and young." (Smiles.)
(Cadena3.com; also contains an audio clip)

Update
Clarin.com has a video interview with David (he basically says the same things as in the interviews above). Clicking this link will play the video full-screen.





Tuesday, May 26, 2009

David back home in Argentina

A couple of days earlier than initially planned, maybe to keep the media from making a fuss about it, David has apparently already arrived back home in Argentina. The national news agency Telam reports:

David Nalbandian is in Argentina, in his hometown Cordoba, to begin the rehabilitation process after undergoing hip surgery, which will keep him sidelined for the rest of this season.

Sources close to Nalbandian confirmed to Telam yesterday that he is in Cordoba, where he will begin rehabilitation.

After having the stitches from the operation taken out last Friday, the Argentine tennis player will be now be doing rehabilitation together with his fitness coach/physiotherapist Diego Rodriguez.

The entire operative and postoperative process was supervised by his personal physician, Dr. Angel Ruiz-Cotorro, who will also monitor the rehabilitation.

Nalbandian had hip surgery on May 13th at the Cima clinic in Barcelona.

The Argentine tennis player is unlikely to make a comeback during this season and will probably make a fresh start at playing on the circuit with a protected ranking, next year.

Update
It's now also on the official site, even in the English version. David already returned to Cordoba on Monday after the stitches were taken out earlier than expected. The official site adds that David was "happy to be home again". - No doubt about that.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

About Vamos David in the Months to come

No news of David at the moment.

But there are a few things I'd like to say...

The coming months will be a difficult time. For David - but also for this blog. As there probably won't be much to report, apart from the occasional update about David's rehabilitation. I'll keep an eye on the Argentine press and post any news I can find. And I expect another round of articles and interviews when David arrives back home in Argentina.
But after that, chances are that there'll be longer periods without much happening.

Still, I'd like to try and keep Vamos David going. At a slower pace, perhaps. And of course posting all available news. But I'll also try to make the long wait for David's return a little easier. And less boring.

The first step, as already announced in the sidebar, will be the addition of the Vamos David Photo Archives, my collection of David pictures. I'm currently in the middle of organizing the files in a set of galleries. (Which is more work than I thought it would be.) As soon as those galleries are finished they'll be added as an extra section of Vamos David.

But I'm also thinking about and preparing other things...
I guess I'd just like to say that Arizona and I hope you'll stick around. :)


In the meantime, here's David (amongst other players), telling us what's his favourite book...




And for those, interested in seeing the man behind the name mentioned so often on this blog in the last couple of weeks, here's a video of Dr. Angel Ruiz-Cotorro...



(photo: La Nacion archive)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Interview - David on Crutches but already at the Gym

La Nacion published a new interview with David yesterday, which was conducted over the phone. It confirms the official site's claim that he has already begun his rehabilitation by doing some cycling and a bit of walking - though on crutches, at the moment.

David: I'm still experiencing the normal discomfort after having had surgery and we've only just started rehabilitation.

Q: Your personal physician [Ruiz-Cotorro] was optimistic after the operation and said that you could play again in four months.

David: Look, I had surgery three days ago. Until a couple of weeks have passed and we see how it all develops, it's impossible to know how for how long the recovery process will keep me sidelined. At this point in time, the doctors make the decisions, more than I do. Right now, for example having to walk on crutches. I don't talk about tennis, I'm still far from being healthy and I have to go slowly.

Q: How long will you have to continue on crutches?

David: It depends on how I feel, but it could be two weeks. It depends on the development, how it goes with the muscles, everything is relative. I'm beginning to do some work at a nearby gym, I do a bit of cycling and walking. Pedaling a bit, as long as it doesn't hurt, trying to push down the pedals. We'll have to wait what Ruiz-Cotorro says, he'll examine me next week.

Q: How you did you experience the repercussions of having your operation?

David: The truth is I was much more worried about my problem, but now it all seems fine. I'm glad that the people who're in charge of these things are concerned about how it's all going to turn out.

Q: If all goes well, is there any chance of playing Davis Cup in case Argentina make it to the semifinals?

David: Depends on the state of my recovery. But if I can be there, I will. The truth is I haven't talked to Caio [Rivera] and Vázquez, we just exchanged a couple of text messages.


Update
Clarin.com also did a phone interview with David yesterday - while he was watching and enjoying the Nadal/Djokovic semifinal at Madrid...

Q: How was the operation and what did the doctors tell you?

David: It went well and they are optimistic. But it'll still be a long rehabilitation and you need to be calm and not speed up the process.

Q: How do you feel?

David: Here I am, lame, on crutches and with the typical discomfort of someone who just had surgery. The scars hurt and there's a bit of discomfort in the hip.

Q: And how's the spirit?

David: Calm. Nothing unusual, just getting started, it's only been three days.

Q: Was this the most important decision of your life, taking into account what tennis means to you?

David: It was tough, yes. Because it's a complicated injury. The doctors didn't know what they were going to find. But I also couldn't continue that way because playing like that was pointless. Going on this way was out of the question, I suffered as much as I could.

Q: By deciding to have surgery, you're being consistent and you'll pursue a demanding rehabilitation, is that correct?

David: Yes, yes. With the rehabilitation, you can't afford making errors because you can fuck it all up. You have to be careful.

Q: Do you have any fears?

David: Of what?

Q: Of not being able to return to play or if you do of not getting back to your level, for example.

David: Surely I will return and I will come back fine. The question is how long it'll take, which is something the doctors can't tell you.

Q: What do you expect of 2010?

David: I don't know when I'll be able to set down my foot properly, so I cannot even imagine myself in 2010.

Q: You're not making plans?

David: Zero plans.

Q: You're 27, you've had a hip operation and now several months of inactivity lie ahead of you. Can you be top ten again or will it be a new career when you start playing again?

David: That's where I can look back at the circuit and see where I stand. I think I can: I played with a hip injury for a year and a half and I played at a good level even with the pain. So I imagine that if I can play without being in pain, I won't have a problem. But it'll be a question of starting to play again and then actually see how I'm doing.

Q: How are you going to approach the time off you'll now have?

David: I don't think, uh, that I'll have much time off. Three days have passed since the operation and the only free time I have is in the morning when I wake up in pain. After that, I do rehabilitation. Now, instead of training, I do rehabilitation.

Q: Are you watching any tennis?

David: This week, yes, because what's going on. But when I'm back in Argentina, having a more normal life again, I won't be sitting in front of the TV but rather do other things.

Friday, May 15, 2009

David out of Hospital

The Argentine news agency Telam reports that David left the Clínica CIMA today, as confirmed by a spokeswoman of the clinic. The article goes on to quote a "statement", apparently issued by the clinic, saying that the operation took a little over three hours. (Whereas other articles have said it took two and half hours.)

The website of La Nacion also has a new article and quotes Dr. Ruiz-Cotorro:
"David's night [after the surgery] was very good, he slept well despite the effects of the anesthesia. He's in a good mood, in good spirits, and he's eager to start the rehabilitation phase. During the operation, he was in a very good condition, even better than expected."
David will now remain in Barcelona for about two more weeks before travelling back home to Unquillo, where he'll receive not only "crucial emotional support" but also "good food".

The article gives the latest estimate for David's pause as "maybe a little less than six months" and adds that "no fixed date" for his return can be set at this point. Right now, it's also not clear when he'll he be able to pick up a racquet again.
The article ends with a quote from David (before surgery), saying that he "won't say anything and won't have any pictures taken". - Which explains why the photo posted with the last entry obviously had to be taken without him noticing it...

Anyway, David is out of the hospital and apparently in good shape.
As good as it can be.


(Thanks to Tamar and tennisace for pointing out those articles to me. :)


Update
The latest news item on David's official site (Spanish version only, so far) says that David has already begun rehabilitation, doing a "few minutes of walking and some cycling" (!). Which really does seem a bit early.
There's also a brief quote from David - so much for not saying anything:
"There was only very little wear on the hip joint, which is very good news. The joint itself was impaired but it was not too bad."
Of course, the date of his return will depend on the progress he'll be making over the next months. But it sounds like he's off to a good start. And that the injury wasn't as bad as feared.

At the same time, the Telam article mentioned above quotes Dr. Ruiz-Cotorro, saying that David may not put any strain on his right leg until his hip has healed.
So once again - mixed messages.
Though given how reliable the official site has been in the past, I tend to go with Telam.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

¡Mucha suerte!

While I'm posting this entry, David is being brought to the operation room at the CIMA clinic in Barcelona. There, the athroscopic surgery, expected to take between two and three hours, will begin at 6pm CET (1pm Argentinean/Vamos David blog time). Dr. Angel Ruiz-Cotorro, who will supervise the operation explains:
"The surgical intervention will comprise reintegrating the labrum and examining the general state of the hip joint."
(source: Telam)
Afterwards, David will remain at the clinic for 48 hours and then stay in Barcelona for the remainder of the month. During this phase, Diego Rodriguez will be in charge of doing physiotherapy with David. Then in June, David will fly back home to Argentina to continue rehabilitation.

It's a grim day for David and his fans. But at least, Dr. Ruiz-Cotorro remains confident that all will be well in the end:
"David is young and he shouldn't have any problems, making his way back to professional tennis. He still has several years of tennis ahead of him. The radiological and resonance examinations did not show an injury of the sort Kuerten had. So we are optimistic."
(source: La Nacion)

Good luck with the operation, David.
¡Y que te mejores pronto!


Update
According to clarin.com, everything went well and the surgery was successful.
The following quotes are from his physician Dr. Angel Ruiz-Cotorro.

"David is in perfect health and very lively [after surgery]."

"Everything went as planned with Dr. Marc Phillipon and the team lead by [surgeon] Dr. Jaime Vilaró."

"We have decided together with David to carry out the first part of the rehabilitation here in Barcelona. After this phase will be completed by the end of May, he'll travel to Argentina."

"The period of rehabilitation after this kind of operation can vary but we are confident that David's recovery won't take longer than four months and that he'll be able to return to the tennis court in the shortest time possible."

Good news.


Update II (14/05/2009)

A new La Nacion article (from which this photo has also been taken; it shows David entering the clinic) quotes Diego Rodriguez:

"Everything went much better than we expected. The operation was a complete success as there were no complications, to the point that we're ready to begin rehabilitation tomorrow."

- This Rodriguez said after the operation yesterday, which took two and a half hours.

According to the article, it was "circulated at the clinic yesterday" that David will be out for six months, though maybe shorter than that.

Only time will tell...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Long Time Coming...

Merely a month has passed since Luis Lobo first talked about David having problems with his hip. Now, David will have surgery on Wednesday. It all still seems like a fairly recent development. Simply because until a month ago, nothing was known of David's lingering hip injury. Or rather, over the past year or so, there was a variety of rumours about what then seemed to be a variety of injuries. When it was the same one, all along...
Here's an illustrated history of David's 14 months with the injury.


Indian Wells 2008. Apparently, that was when David first experienced problems with his hip. Watching him play back then, I noticed how he seemed to be grabbing his knee once or twice after getting wrong-footed (as can be seen in this photo). By now, it's clear that it wasn't his knee that was troubling him.


Davis Cup quarterfinal against Sweden. This was the turning point, from problem to full-fledged injury. David was apparently in pain after having contested two matches but still decided to play a third one. After eventually overcoming Söderling 9-7 in the fifth set, David burst into tears. Back then, those tears appeared to be tears of joy at winning this epic match and the decisive third point. But by now, it seems that he was also crying with sheer relief for having survived the ordeal that match must have been for him. Or to quote David: "I've never suffered so much on a tennis court." (source: La Nacion)


Roland Garros. And the second-round match against Chardy. After winning the first two sets, David basically stopped moving on court, didn't seem to make any further attempt at chasing down balls. Back then, there was no real explanation for it. By now, there is and it makes photos like this one (from the Chardy match) appear in a whole new light. After David lost that match, the first rumours appeared that he was suffering from some sort of injury, the exact nature of which wasn't revealed.


Wimbledon. And the second of two pretty horrible defeats in a row (after winning only a single game against Djokovic at the Queen's Club). David seemed sluggish and disinterested. - By now, one can only wonder in how much pain he was during those matches.
Around this time, rumours appeared that David was suffering from hernia. It's now clear that it was his hip but back then, the injury was initially diagnosed as hernia. Apparently, hernia and a labrum tear can be easily confused, due to the similarity of the symptoms both cause. At what point David's injury was first diagnosed correctly is still a mystery.


Beijing. In July 2008, prior to the Olympic Games, Diego Rodriguez first talked about David maybe having to have surgery due to unspecified "muscular problems". Which led to all sorts of speculations. Some news agencies even declared David's right arm to be the problem. But after having already been sidelined by an injury during the Athens Olympics in 2004, David was not to be kept from taking part, this time. He went out in the third round against Monfils. I watched that match and thought his loss more unfortunate than anything, despite the fact that he didn't serve too well.


Davis Cup semifinal against Russia. Once again David played on all three days, including a doubles match that lasted for three and a half hours. On the third day, playing against Davydenko, David lost the match in four sets after winning the first (and getting bagelled in the fourth). He merely seemed to have run out of gas, back then. But photos like this one maybe now tell a different story.

During the indoor season, David appeared to be his old self again, playing some great matches in the conditions he likes best. Profiting, perhaps, from a series of very short matches at Stockholm. And I couldn't find anything unusual about the matches he lost (against Delpo at Madrid and against Federer at Basel). At Paris, however, he almost withdrew before the final, after the tough semifinal match against Davydenko. He did play the final in the end and lost (to Tsonga). But afterwards, it was rumoured how close he had come to withdrawing, though no specific reasons for it were given.


Davis Cup final. Prior to it, David was apparently advised to have surgery. As if anything could've stopped him from playing. After a brilliant first match against David Ferrer, David's errors and his inability to hold serve at important moments played a crucial role in the loss of the doubles (his serve being affected by the injury). Knowing now that he played this tie against the advice of his doctors perhaps explains why he took such an unforgiving stance with Delpo. Indeed, it must've been difficult for David to allow for Delpo being tired from the Masters Cup, when he was putting up with such a lot in order to play, himself.

2009. Perhaps, it's not surprising that David won his only title during this injury-stricken period at Sydney this year, directly after the off-season. How much of a role the injury played for his second-round loss at the Australian Open, I don't know.
The South American clay-court swing saw David struggling with a problem of a different kind, the viral infection he contracted during the Copa Telmex and which kept him from playing Davis Cup.


Indian Wells. Where David famously held five match points against Rafael Nadal before losing in three sets (and getting bagelled in the third). His problem with closing out sets and matches by now seems to have come from knowing that he was likely to be in pain again, the longer the match went on, increasing the pressure in those moments. At Indian Wells, David also played doubles with Delpo. Which was a good idea for restoring peace - but a bad one, as far as the injury was concerned. As it apparently flared up again during that tournament.

Then came Miami. And the match against Troicki, where David seemed to have given up already before the match had even begun. Back then, I for one blamed the windy conditions and a seriously bad day David seemed to have had. But I also asked the question whether there was more behind that loss...

It's just that I look back on those months and on the matches where I accused him of being disinterested. Of not trying hard enough. Now I know that he must've tried everything he possibly could. But that his hip and the pain he must've been in simply wouldn't allow him to play any better than he did.
And now I can only hope that I'll get to see him play again.
Whether it'll be in four months, or in six, or however long it might take...

Friday, May 8, 2009

David to have Surgery next Wednesday


(Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

It's official, David will have hip surgery on Wednesday, May 13th in Barcelona.
After that, he will have to pause for at least four to six months and he'll miss the rest of the current season. The operation, in form of an arthroscopy, will be conducted by Dr. Marc Phillipon, an American specialist who has performed this procedure on several famous athletes in the past, including the golfer Greg Norman and Gustavo Kuerten. Phillipon will be joined by Dr. Angel Ruiz-Cotorro.
(source: La Nacion)

David is suffering from a labrum tear - in the left hip. (Previous articles claimed that it was the right one.) The labrum is a fibrocartilaginous structure, which, if ruptured, causes an inflammation of the hip joint. David's Argentine physician Miguel Khoury explains:
"To put it in a way that can be understood, the labrum is the meniscus of the hip, a cartilage that surrounds the entire head of the thighbone. The injury is caused by spreading and rotating the leg. It starts as something small but then it can turn into something degenerative." (source: La Nacion)

It's the same injury Lleyton Hewitt and Gustavo Kuerten had and were operated for, though Kuerten's case was much more severe. Surgical intervention is regarded as the only possible cure for this kind of ailment. And while the operation itself is apparently not too complicated, the rehabilitation that follows can be long and arduous.
- But as David recently said, he's willing to try and come back.


Update
Quotes from David today:
"Unfortunately, I have decided to take the path of having the operation."

"After having tried everything to avoid surgical intervention, together with my personal physician and with my team we have reached the conclusion that the trip to the operating room is inevitable."

"I feel very sad, most of all for having to miss out on the Davis Cup in 2009. I'm also sad to miss the rest of the season, with three Grand Slams still ahead that I was eager to play." (source: elmundo.es)

Arizona and I wish David all the best and we hope he'll get well again, soon.


Vamos David!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Interview with David

This interview for La Nacion (published yesterday), has David still hoping that he might find a way of avoiding surgery. But he also talks about what's going to happen after the operation, should he have to have it...

David: I will give myself three or four more days to make a decision. I will try everything I can to see if I can steer clear of surgery. What I have is a worn out hip joint that always hurts, well on the way to making me lame. I'm not comfortable. I'm now giving it a last chance, I tried to avoid all that now could happen. But I'm not well enough to compete.

Q: What's keeping you from making the decision to have surgery?

David: I will if it doesn't develop the way I'd want it to in these next few days. After I withdrew at Barcelona, we decided to go for a conservative treatment, so we will wait a little longer to see if it gets better. It's something I already talked about to Luis [Lobo] and we arrived at the conclusion that it's all about whether I'm able to walk onto the court, feeling good. Right now, it's troubling me all day and it's worse when I play. On the one hand, I've fought with this for a year, but it's also bitter, having to stop and miss the rest of the year. It's a very bad feeling.

Q: Do the consequences of the operation frighten you?

David: There's a bit of uncertainty, because I don't know whether I'll be well again after three or six months, nobody can tell you that. The doctors say the operation itself is easy, but it all depends on how I get through the rehabilitation process, that's the question.

Q: Are you concerned about the effort it'll need to make a comeback?

David: No, because I'm 27 years old and I feel that I still have two or three more seasons left to play. The energy and strength to go on are there.

Q: Have you talked to other players who suffered the same injury?

David: Yes, I spoke to several players who have the same problem. It happened to Magnus Norman, Lleyton Hewitt, to... This is also about Guga [Kuerten], but my case is different, his was more severe, more advanced.

Q: Right now, do you think that it would be impossible for you to play five sets?

David: No, I wouldn't even get that far. Right now, I can't even play well for two sets. It hurts from the first game to the last, I'm in pain from the beginning. Not being able to start well, that's the biggest problem, and then on the next day of playing the pain is unbearable. In the state I'm in now, I can't play a Grand Slam or Davis [Cup], I'm not able to compete at the highest level.

Q: Dr. Ruiz-Cotorro has always been the one in charge of the conservative treatment. Was there any change about that approach in the past few days?

David: No, from the beginning, surgical intervention was plan B, which is why I'm waiting to see how far we can get with it. This is not an easy decision, because it's not easy to stop and not play the rest of the year. It's a decision we'll all make together, with the doctors and the team.

Q: If you have surgery, you won't be able to play Davis Cup, one of your goals.

David: I know, but let me see if I can steer clear of this. And if not, I'll see what I'll do, I'll talk to Tito [Vázquez]. For now, there's still a minimal chance that I might continue to play.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

David decides on Friday

In an interview for Argentinean channel TyC Sports (audio - poor quality - can be listened to here), David has said today that he'll make his decision about the operation on Friday.
Though it doesn't really look like he'll have much of a choice...


Here are some quotes:
"We're trying to steer clear of surgery. I still have those problems. I'm going to disclose my decision on Friday, whether or not I'll have surgery. The possibility of getting the operation was always my plan B. But it hurts more and more every day. And I can no longer keep on playing like that. I don't feel comfortable. If it doesn't get better, I don't have any other choice..."
"I feel very bitter because I can't play. But the truth is I could neither play a Grand Slam, nor Davis Cup."
"The problem is there all day. It's much worse when I play. If the match is tough, I'm in pain by the end of it. And if I win, then I go into the next round feeling worse. ...So it would be an operation similar to the one Guga Kuerten had, but not as serious."
"How do I see it? - Sooner or later, I'll have to do it."
"It hurts mostly when I serve, but the discomfort is constant, even if I just drink mate [tea]. Sooner or later, I'll have to have the operation."
(additional quotes from TyC.)


Clarin.com reports that in case David has to go with his plan B, he'll undergo surgery on Wednesday 13th at a clinic in Barcelona.


Update
The Spanish version of David's official site confirms that he'll wait until the end of this week with his decision. It also confirms David to have "tentatively settled on Wednesday 13th as the probable date for the operation" if his hip doesn't get better.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Estoril: Test Failed?



David lost his "test match" at Estoril today against Paul Capdeville, who prevailed 6-2, 6-2. The match lasted merely 53 minutes and saw David virtually chanceless, continously struggling with his serve, the rhythm on his groundstrokes and most of all his movement on court. While not displaying any clear signs of being in pain, David once or twice moved his right leg in a way that could suggest he was having problems with his hip. But this is merely speculation.
It remains to be seen what David will say about this match, whether he was in pain, playing it. In any case, it raises some serious questions about his current state.

A brief summary...
After holding to love for a 1-0 lead, David's next serve game at 1-1 was the moment he started struggling with his groundstrokes, making errors left and right, both with the forehand and the backhand. David immediately went down 0-40. He managed to retrieve the (poor) drop-shot Capdeville played on the following point but placed the ball in a way that the Chilean had no difficulties answering with a passing shot, break 2-1. Which Capdeville then consolidated easily, 3-1. David's following service game saw more unforced errors (off both wings) and further proof of how bad his movement was today. His opponent's shots didn't even have to be all that precise, as soon as he managed to move David around the court, he was practically guaranteed the point. At 15-40, Capdeville had the next break points. This time, David managed to save one of them. But on the second, his down-the-line backhand sailed long (as it did often today). Double break, 4-1. With Capdeville now serving, David played what was his best return game today. Again, he made several unforced errors, but he also managed to hit two backhand winners and finally outplay Capdeville, forcing his error - on the first (and last) break point David had today, re-break, 4-2. In the next game, David had a game point and could have narrowed Capdeville's lead to 4-3 but then three unforced errors in a row saw him down by a double break, yet again. 5-2. Capdeville served out the set without difficulty (and helped by more errors from David). 6-2.

The second set began with the next break against David. He served a little better in this set but there were also longer rallies now that showed David's movement to be slow and sluggish - at best. Which resulted in forced errors like the one that gave Capdeville the break for 1-0. The Chilean himself continued to cruise through his service games. Either David's returns found the net directly, or the Chilean merely had to keep the ball in play and wait for David's next error. 2-0. However, a couple of errors from his opponent (and an unsuspected forehand winner) allowed David to hold for 2-1. After Capdeville had gone up 3-1, David played his best service game since the very first one and held easily to 15, 3-2. But that brief flicker of hope already went out again in the next game, when once again David produced a series of errors, gifting Capdeville an easy hold and the 4-2 lead. In the following game, David was up 30-0 before his only double fault of the day took him back to 30-30. At that moment, an unlucky netcord for David gave Capdeville another break point. And then another forehand from David landed wide. Double break, 5-2. Serving for the match, at his first match point the Chilean played another (poor) drop-shot, David again managed to get there in time but just like with the point that cost David the first break of the day, he played the ball directly to Capdeville's racquet... 6-2.

Watching the match, I found myself wondering whether he couldn't play any better because he was in pain (or trying to avoid being in pain), or whether perhaps he wasn't really taking the match all that seriously. Or maybe both. As there seemed to be no emotional response from him, nor any attempt at making adjustments, for example playing his groundstrokes a bit more safe. He produced errors left and right whenever he was made to move. Even if it was just a bit. But he also made errors when he had all the time in the world on his shots. And the serve was once more a catastrophe...
I guess we'll have to wait and see what he says after the match.

Match stats...
1st serve: 37%
Aces: 2
DFs: 1
BP Conversion: 1/1
Points won on 1st serve: 50%
Points won on 2nd serve: 44%
Winners: 6
UEs: 35


Update
The first comments from David (from the tournament website):
"My preparation coming to Estoril was as good as possible but limited due to my ongoing injury. I did everything I could to recover on time to play this tournament and I believe I arrived in the best shape possible given the circumstances."
"I like this tournament and it is unfortunate I couldn’t show my best tennis. Today I just couldn’t move well and never found my rhythm. The injury still bothers me. I have to keep working on getting better."

Update II
According to a new Olé article, "it looks like David will undergo hip surgery on Wednesday, in Spain."
This hasn't been confirmed yet and so far, it's only on their site.
NOTE: This article has been completely rewritten and now says that surgery is a possibility but that no decision has been made yet. It cites sources from David's camp as having said that he didn't feel any real pain during the match and that the injury doesn't explain the defeat. Though it also quotes David, saying that he felt "uncomfortable" and that he couldn't move well because of it. According to this new version, David will continue with his treatment, he'll try to play Madrid and then make his decision.



(Francisco Leong/AFP/Getty Images; also first pic)




(AP Photo)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Estoril Draw

The draw for next week's tournament at Estoril has just been released - with David's name in it.

Originally, he was going to be the fourth seed and would've had "his own" quarter of the draw. But due to the late addition of Gilles Simon to the field (by means of a wild card), David is now seeded fifth and finds himself in the top half and in David Ferrer's quarter:

[3] David Ferrer (ESP) vs Daniel Gimeno-Traver (ESP)
Oscar Hernandez (ESP) vs -[WC] Rui Machado (POR)
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) vs Maximo Gonzalez (ARG)
Paul Capdeville (CHI) vs [5] David Nalbandian (ARG)

David's first match against the Chilean Capdeville will be a premiere, the two have never played against each other before. For a fit David, the first two rounds would look very makeable, until a possible, difficult clash with Ferrer. But as it's not clear how fit David is, there's probably not much sense in looking any further than his first-round match.

It'll be David's fourth appearance at this particular event. And out of the three times he participated so far, twice he won the tournament in the end (2002 and 2006). Which makes Estoril the only one of his titles that David has been able to win more than once. So even if the expectations are very different this year and cannot possibly go beyond hoping that his recovery will be confirmed, returning to a tournament where he has been very successful in the past should be a good feeling for David.

Friday, May 1, 2009

No News = good News...?

No news from David and his recovery in the last couple of days.
But also no news from Estoril. In other words: as of now, David's name is still on the entry list. It looks like he'll indeed play this tournament as a way of judging the progress he's making.

The draw will be pulled tomorrow afternoon (local time).