Wednesday, December 22, 2010

David: I don't want to retire without having won the Davis Cup

(RadioFMQ; from the Copa Argentina)

It's been a promising off-season so far for David. And yet, something was missing...
Of course - David, talking about his favourite topic, the Davis Cup.
Last Wednesday, it was officially confirmed that the first-round tie against Romania will be played on clay at the Parque Roca in Buenos Aires (March 4-6). And on the same day, David met Sergio Stuart and Germán Martina from Olé to talk about, you've guessed it, the Davis Cup. And also about the next season.
Here's the interview.
Q: First of all, can the Davis Cup be won in 2011?

David: If Juan Martin (Del Potro) and I are in good shape, then we can put up a good fight against Serbia in a hypothetical semifinal in Belgrade. There'll be four competitive singles matches indoors, what we'll be lacking is a doubles team. It's difficult but not impossible.

Q: You have your personal history with the Davis Cup. You were injured in Sweden, you didn't have any match practice, going to Russia...

David: Yes. That with Sweden was madness. I went to Russia without having played any matches but I was healthy. You always hope to win and against Sweden, it was a tie where if I could be there somehow, we could win it. The crazy part about it was the situation: muscular tear, recovery, not having played, change of surface... I let myself be guided by my instinct, because I wanted to play, because I always give everything for the Davis Cup, with the mistakes that I make as well as with the good decisions.

Q: After winning the Davis Cup, Djokovic compared it to winning the World Cup in football. And you were crying after you won the fifth rubber against Youzhny.

David: It's something different. You're representing the country. I'm representing myself, my family, you, him, everybody. The responsibility and the pressure are much bigger. If you win the Davis Cup, the satisfaction is much bigger. You suffer. And you have to take into account that in the past, there have been many who found it difficult to play Davis Cup and others who became great because of it. That moment in Russia was relief, satisfaction, pressure, joy...

Q: Is the defeat against Spain at Mar del Plata 2008 still the thorn in your side?

David: It still makes me angry to have lost that final. It's a wound that's always going to be there because there's no way of going back and playing it again. And I think that it [the wound] is not going to close until we win [the Davis Cup] one day. Because if we win it now, I'd say, "this should've been the second time, not the first one". Incredible that we lost that tie.

Q: Now there are not too many players...

David: I think that the incredible phase that Argentina had is over. The one with Coria, myself, Gaudio, Puerta, Cañas, Calleri, Chela... There were seven, eight of us, five in the Top 10 or close to it and the others were [ranked] 20, 22, 25... Twice in Davis Cup, we had [a team of] four Top 10 players. That's not something that happens in the world all the time. Now, obviously, Juan Martin is not having the best moment [in his career], I'm coming back, Pico is getting better but still struggling a bit on fast surfaces. Basically, I think what Argentina is lacking is a good doubles, to be able to say, "we have two good singles players, we take the best two at the moment and form a doubles team that has a real chance to beat anybody, anywhere". Throughout my career, I ended up playing it all and I always ended up worn out.

Q: The doubles is the weakest link, these days?

David: These days we don't have a doubles like that, other than Mayer doing well in doubles, and Zeballos and Schwank too... They're my teammates and I love them but they're not a doubles like Llodra/Benneteau or the Bryans. There's no doubles team that can keep up with those pairs.

Q: There's not what you're looking for?

David: There are no specialists. We no longer have Arnold, Hood, Martin Rodriguez, Etlis. There's no team that plays together on the Tour. Schwank and Zeballos played together because they happened to be at the same tournament and then they played together a little. For me, the ideal thing right now would be if the captain picks two players and insists that they play doubles together as much as they can so that they can consolidate [their doubles game] in order to get to best possible level.

Q: Have you talked about 2011?

David: No. There should be a meeting about the Davis Cup at the start of the new year. The reality ends up being that we get to see each other two days before a tie. So it's difficult to make plans and do things in advance, so you can coordinate tournaments and form a doubles that gets a number of matches.

Q: Have you spoken to Tito Vázquez since those problems in France?

David: So far, we didn't get together. I'm hoping that we'll get together to see how we're going to do these things. But everything is fine with [me and] him.

Q: Are you having your say with the decisions?

David: The captain makes the decisions. I try to give my teammates confidence, in order to try and win. Many of the ties I would've played differently but the captain decided something else. Not just the current captain, others as well.

Q: Let's move on to the present day. After a season 2010 with interruptions, how are you?

David: Fine, I finished this year that was cut short because of injuries very well. But in the second half [of the season] I had more continuity. Regardless of the results, I'm able to have the regularity and the confidence to know that 2011, I can deal with a much more serious and regular schedule. Because this year, I planned a schedule and played only half of it. So I finished [the season] healthy and with a normal degree of fatigue.

Q: You've said that you want to finish inside the Top 10. Do you think you're on the same level as Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Murray?

David: The four best players in the world are a step ahead. Especially physically. They play lots of tournaments and always make the finals. For me, with my hip surgery, it's difficult to have the same kind of rhythm. I have to be more careful with planning my schedule. But from #5 to #15, players have the same level. Among those I can be.

Q: Let's look ahead at the future. On the first [of January], you'll turn 29. For the rest of your career, what's going to be more important, the ranking, a Grand Slam or the Davis Cup?

David: I have two, three more years left. I don't want to retire without having won the Davis Cup. It is my obsession, something special. It's the only title Argentina is still lacking in tennis. It would be incredible for the AAT, with all its shortcomings, to be able to say, "tennis has won all the titles at the international level". A Grand Slam is great as well but Argentina already has a few of those.
Well, that's it for the moment.
Time for Vamos David to take a break now until the Summer Cup exhibition at Punta del Este, which will start for David on the 27th with his "semifinal" match against Thomaz Bellucci. (At 9pm local/8pm Argentina/11pm GMT/6pm EST, live on ESPN+; whether there's going to be a stream - we'll see.) A first look at the stadium being prepared here, courtesy of Tamar (thanks).
Until then it's...

Happy holidays, everybody! :)


  1. Thanks a lot for all the hard work Julia, and all the team ;) Much appreciated :D
    Let's all hope that 2011 will be a great year for David where he can achieve his main goal, the Davis Cup, as well as staying healthy, playing good tennis consistently, and who knows maybe he can win a slam as well ;)

    Until then...enjoy the holidays everyone :))

  2. i repeat the words Noha said, and thanks a lot Julia for everything, those were really professional and clear statements from David.
    Happy holidays everyone, and Merry Christmas in advance.

  3. For David seem to be his titles no matter. In this interview he doesn't speak about his own needs and succes, what he needs for his career, he only thinks for Argentina's tennis.
    All top players who haven't won a Grand Slam, would answer on the one question about Grand Slam something like "The most important thing for me is the Grand Slam because I have never won it." But David has another answer for it: "... Argentina already has a few of Gran Slams"
    I am very afraid that David woulnd't really concentrate on tennis any more when he would win the Davis Cup and retire sooner as expected.
    At least good to hear that he says he will do his best in AO.
    Ok, no discussion about tennis any more this year.
    Julia, thanks for the sensational work you always did.
    Goodbye all of you, merry Christmas and happy new year in advance.
    See you next year and hopefully the best David we have never seen.

  4. Thanks for keeping us so well informed, Julia.

    It's been an odd sort of year for David, with those frustrating gaps due to injuries, but some unexpectedly good results as well.

    I've enjoyed all the chats (especially at those nail-biting moments) with everyone here in the comments section. Happy holidays, and see you all for the start of next year's roller-coaster ride.

  5. thanks julia for the hard work, until next year everybody :D

  6. Happy holidays to everyone here!

    Good work with the blog, Julia. :) I've started to take the translations and news for granted now, I think. Let's hope David doesn't get injured much and plays many matches, to make life difficult for you. :P (Though I can also blog if it ever gets too much...)

  7. Not exactly on-topic at all, but Hayrabet and I have just found a smiley for David's trademark expression! (Too bad I cannot find the right photo, that matches exactly...)


    this one is better i think.

  9. Good points, Ashot. Nalbandian is a strange character; that's for sure. I have to disagree, however, that he would just retire if he won the Davis Cup anytime soon. I know a lot of people believel that, but I am not one of them. I think he enjoys playing tennis and does want individual success, so he would continue. He is not, however, anywhere close to as ambitious as the Top 4 players, especially Nadal.

    The good news is that he appears to be scheduling a ton of events this year, and they couldn't all be with Davis Cup in mind. I think he really does want to reel in some titles.

    On another note: I recently watched a recording of Nalbandian's 2006 AO semi against Baghdatis. Anyone here have any recollections from that most horrible of Nalbandian losses? It is absolutely amazing that he lost that match. I think he would have beaten Federer in the final too.

  10. Thanks for the compliments, everybody. :)
    I hope you all enjoyed the holidays. I did. :)
    And yeah, I'll continue to do my best, trying to keep up with David and his shenanigans. (With some help from Krystle.)
    Latest news: David is thinking about taking part in the Rally Dakar. After retiring from tennis and if it still takes place in Argentina and Chile then. So he hasn't forgotten about his rally cars after all...
    And just one thing about DC. Winning it for Argentina would make him a national sports hero. And I think that's what he'd very much like to be.

  11. As a fan of Nalbandian's, I really hope that he does eventually get that DC title because of how much it means to him and the nation of Argentina. However, I don't think it would hurt his luster as a "national sports hero" if he was to add 1 or more Grand Slams to his resume and some more Masters titles. It seems like everytime he wins an event or goes deep in one there are Argentines proudly waving the Argentine flag, whether it's in Shanghai, Washington, or Paris.

  12. I've tried to explain this before - DC is very important in Argentina. As David says, it's the one title they're lacking. And it's one they really want.
    If it was all just about Slams, then David wouldn't have won the Konex award.

  13. I understand that Julia, and I did say that I wanted him to win the Davis Cup title. However, I was responding to Ashot who said that Nalbandian wasn't talking enough about his own personal career. He raised this much-talked about matter, not me. But I do happen to agree with him, and I have no problem saying it!

  14. Yeah, and I was replying to Ashot, saying that David is not just being completely selfless when he says he wants to win DC for Argentina. Because that would make him a national sports hero and that's what he wants (I think).

  15. Allow me to ask again, since it's another one of those dreaded dead periods in the tennis calendar. Do any of you have any recollections of the Nalbandian-Baghdatis AO semi? It's painful just to think about it, but perhaps fitting since Melbourne is right around the corner.

  16. Nope, I have pretty much moved on from that match now.

  17. Yep. After all, that was five years ago.

  18. Well, I put it up there with the Nadal loss at Indian Wells as one of the matches against big-name opponents that Nalbandian should have won but somehow failed to close out. Those losses hurt the same way that Madrid-Paris 2007 is a fond memory.

    Here are the highlights for any who wish to see just how well Nalbandian played the first two sets:

  19. I used to think of that Baghdatis match as a bad memory, but not so anymore, because that Australian Open was one of his best runs in the Slams, and he hasn't been close to anything like that since (apart from Roland Garros afterwards).

  20. Yes, it was a great run but that was Nalbandian's moment to really make a move for a Grand Slam. He had just won Masters Cup in November and only had Federer to beat in the final on a surface that was probably slightly favorable to Nalbandian. To be up 2 sets to 0 in a Grand Slam semi, and playing so darn well, and then to lose, it's almost inconceivable.

  21. That was five years ago. Don't you think it's time to let it go?

    But good that you linked Andvari's clip. His clips can't be linked often enough on VD.

  22. Yes and no. Yes in the sense that it's long in the past and there's nothing we can do about it, but no in the sense that that match was, unfortunately, one of the defining moments in his career. I am someone who does like to reflect on the past - good and bad. As easily as I can lament that AO semi, I can also rejoice over the Madrid-Paris 2007 run or Nalbandian's spectacular play in Washington and the early part of Toronto.

    The reason I've brought it up, however, is that the Australian Open is coming up. Naturally, that memory comes to mind.

  23. Still - what's done is done. Five years ago, in this case.
    For my part, I'll be happy enough to see David play the AO again. And without any bad memories.

  24. Okay, back onto more important topics, I have now found the right photo that matches David with the smiley:"

    If only I could embed it to force people to look at it, lol.

  25. Okay, here is the correct link. I didn't mean to have the quotation marks:
    Photo of David and smiley comparison

  26. hahahahaha Perfect!

  27. That's pretty mean of you to post that pic of David... lol

  28. Yeah I know, I posted the photo out of my own benefit! lol