Saturday, February 27, 2010

Davis Cup: Juan Monaco out as well...

What was his suspicion already last night has by now become a fact - during his semifinal match at Acapulco yesterday, Juan "Pico" Monaco suffered a tear in the left abdominal area. And because of this injury, he won't be able to play the upcoming Davis Cup tie in Stockholm. In David's and Delpo's absence, captain Tito Vázquez was planning to rely on Pico as his #1 singles player.
With Pico now out as well, Vázquez has apparently decided against calling one of the more experienced players (like Chela, who has said he wants to play). Instead, as canchallena.com reports, Argentina's captain is going to nominate 19-year-old talent Federico Delbonis (currently ranked #211).
But it will probably fall to 22-year-old Leonardo Mayer to lead the Argentine squad as #1 singles player in Stockholm. Mayer, currently ranked #69, has contested exactly one Davis Cup match so far (last year against the Czech Republic where he played the doubles with Chucho).
In other words, if Argentina's chances seemed fairly slim to begin with, divine intervention will probably now be required to see Argentina's youngest team in years through to the next round.
At the same time, David will now curse himself even more for not being able to help his team...

Apart from that there's not much to report at the moment. No news from David. Hopefully because he's busy, training and getting ready for Indian Wells. Speaking of which - I will take this chance to make an...

Announcement

concerning that particular tournament and Vamos David.
I have a very important exam coming up in March that I will need to concentrate on. Therefore I won't be able to report anything that happens at Indian Wells.
But luckily enough for me and for you, my good friend Krystle (you may know her blog Tennis Brain) has agreed to cover for me. So, during Indian Wells, she'll be in charge of Vamos David and she'll keep you posted about David and his matches.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Interlude: Davis Cup Nominations

With both David and Delpo out of the equation, Argentina's captain Tito Vázquez has announced his nominations for the Davis Cup first-round tie against Sweden. Juan Monaco will lead the team as the new #1 singles player. He will be accompanied by Leonardo Mayer, Horacio Zeballos and Eduardo Schwank.
Sweden's team will be led by Robin Söderling. With Andreas Vinciguerra and doubles experts Simon Aspelin and Robert Lindstedt completing the Swedish squad.

If Argentina lose this first-round tie, they run the risk of losing their place in the World Group, i.e. the group of nations competing in Davis Cup. In this case, Argentina would have to qualify for next year's competition at the World Group playoffs (September 17-19) against one of the top teams from the Zonal Groups.
(I initially thought they would lose an entire year, having to qualify again but that's not the case, as a look at the Davis Cup rulebook revealed.)

I'll keep track of what happens in Stockholm. I'm sure David will, too...

(Sources: Telam, Davis Cup official site)


Update (24/02)
Here are some new quotes from David, who appeared on the show "Despertate" on TyC Sports to talk about the upcoming Davis Cup tie and the current state of his recovery...
It's a shame that I can't play Davis Cup. I would've really liked to play and I already missed out [on playing Davis Cup] last year.

Monaco, Mayer, Zeballos and Schwank are the best players we have at the moment. We'll have to see how the guys will adapt [to playing on hard court] after playing at Acapulco this week. For Pico, making this adjustment will perhaps be the most difficult. Zeballos, playing serve and volley, will have it easier and the same goes for Leo Mayer, who has been playing on hard court of late.

Basically no one [on the Argentine team] can really expect to beat Söderling. We'll have to go with a strategy that's about trying to win the other two singles and the doubles.

If we lose this tie, we'll have to play [the World Group] playoffs, something that hasn't happened since 2000, I believe. And nobody thinks about it now that for years the worst we've done has been reaching the quarter final.

It becomes normal that you have to win, normal to reach semis or the final, year after year. But those are also things that have to achieved. After Vilas, Argentina was in American Zonal Group most of the time before we managed to make it [to the World Group] again.
Talking about his latest injury and the current recovery, David admits he still has to adapt "better to playing competitive tennis" because...
Otherwise, I wouldn't have suffered two tears within a month and a half. Everyone is aware of the risk during every match, every athlete knows the pain and how far they can push themselves. It's your subconscious and your desires that often betray you.

Today I'll try [training] for 20 minutes to see how my body will react to it and also to see what progress I'm making during these two days of tennis in order to go back to practically normal training next week and then trying to play Indian Wells.
Had it [the injury] happened anywhere else I would've done what was necessary [to keep the injury from getting worse] because you say to yourself, I want to play the coming week and I'll play that tournament next. The thing is that only when my body cooled down [after the match] we realised that it was something 'serious'.
If at that moment [during the match] they would've told me to stop now or else I wouldn't be playing Davis Cup, then I would've done that, I would've stopped. But nobody has a crystal ball to know these things.
Here's another one I just found, about how David sees his comeback so far...
I was very happy with my level of playing. I still lack match practice and I have to improve physically. But fortunately, I haven't lost the timing [on my shots] and I was able to respond well in the decisive moments, especially in the second match.
(Sources: Infobae.com & Clarin, thanks, Anna; and 26noticias.com.ar)

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Brief Update

All is quiet "on the David front" at the moment. Except for a news item over on the official site, according to which David will, after two days of complete rest, begin his preparation for Indian Wells.

In other words, after maybe resting over the weekend, today could see David back to work again, first doing physiotherapy and kinesiological exercises for ten days and then resuming his training.

As for Indian Wells, none of the five wildcards for the event has been announced so far. I'll keep an eye on this. Though David seems to have a deal with the organisers.

Meanwhile, reaching the quarterfinal of the Copa Telmex means 45 ranking points for David. But as he had 90 to defend from last year, he has effectively lost 45 points and gone down another 19 places in the rankings to #159.
At Indian Wells, he'll have another 90 points to defend. (Photo: Copa Telmex/Sergio Llamera)

Here's a slideshow video with off-court pics that Noubar has made...




And here's a "best of" video with return winners from David, also by Noubar...

Friday, February 19, 2010

David out of Copa Telmex, Acapulco and Davis Cup



It is official - David's right leg injury is not just a strain but a 3mm muscle tear that will require seven to ten days to heal.

This means that David will not only miss tonight's quarterfinal match at the Copa Telmex, but also next week's tournament in Acapulco and the Davis Cup tie against Sweden.

Sources: Reuters (thanks, Tim) and Telam.


A few more photos from the match against Gimeno-Traver and also from the post-match press conference have been added on the photo page.


Update
According to David's official website, he will return at Indian Wells (thanks, Noubar).
Apparently with a wildcard.


Update II
Some quotes about David, his injury and the current situation...

Walter Mira (tournament doctor)
"He will have to rest for two or three days and he'll be fine again in seven to ten."
"I think that it will take only little time to heal."
"What we were able to do with the ultrasound scan today was to measure the size of the injury, a 3mm tear in the adductor muscle, which is still just a small injury. But it was also clear that the pain caused by it increased between yesterday and today, making it impossible for him to play."
"He will have to do physiotherapy. A couple of days of rest. He's getting treatment now. We're going to do another ultrasound scan soon. And then he'll be able to make plans about how long he has to pause and how he will continue after that."

Bernardo Ballero (David's spokesman)
"Today, he woke up in more pain than he had went he went to bed last night and somehow the injury was worse than before. The edema turned out to be bigger on the ultrasound scan and therefore he made the decision to pull out of this tournament and the next in Acapulco."
"He's trying to deal with this as calmly as possible in order to then focus on the American hard-court events in Indian Wells and Miami."


(Photos: Marcelo Carroll/Olé)

(Sources: La Nacion and Agencia Nova)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

David Reaches the Quarterfinal - But Can He Play?


(Reuters Pictures)

In an epic, emotional match that lasted almost three hours, David eventually managed to overcome Daniel Gimeno-Traver 6-7(5), 6-4, 7-6(7) to reach the quarterfinal stage of the Copa Telmex. There, his opponent will be another Spaniard, fifth seed Albert Montañes. The match is scheduled to take place on Friday
- But at the moment, it's not clear whether David will be able to play due to an adductor strain with edema he suffered last night, an injury that, according to the tournament doctor, will take seven to ten days to heal. According to the Fue Buena blog (thanks, Anna), David will undergo an ultrasound scan at 6.30pm (local) today to assess the gravity of the injury.

Here's what happened in David's own words:
To tell you the truth, it was very tough (...), an extremely tough first set, demanding, hard. During the last rally of the tiebreak, I felt a pull in the adductor [of my right leg], the doctor came and couldn't say for sure whether it was a muscle spasm or a bit of a strain.

The doctor advised me to retire. But it's impossible [to do that] in Argentina and I really wanted to finish the match in order to give something back for all the support people always give me.

The match changed because I couldn't move, couldn't serve, and it was totally different from the first set. There was a moment when I thought I couldn't go on and so I told myself - I can't move so I'll have to take more risks [during the rallies] and if it works, it works. And fortunately, it worked.

Now we'll have to see what it is that I have and I hope it's nothing. And that the people won't get nervous because I'm going to be there, even if it's just on one leg, the way I've done it before. (Source: Reuters)
These things David said directly after the match. When he was, I think, still full of adrenaline after last night's dramatic match with its, as an Argentine news site chose to describe it, "Hollywood-like" ending. Whether David will have to accept that he won't be able to play tomorrow... We'll see.


(EFE)

As hard-fought and dramatic as last night's match was, I'm finding it very difficult now to focus on it with David injured again. So just some brief notes about the match...
- I can't remember the last time I saw David choose to serve first in a match.
- Despite wanting to play even more aggressively than he did against Starace, David was unable to carry out his game plan in the first set, which led to many protracted rallies - the exact thing he wanted to avoid. And which made that set so tough for him.
- After breaking Gimeno-Traver for a 5-3 lead in the first set, David thought it was time for a changeover and went back to his chair. After that little mishap, he then quickly dropped his serve, apparently having lost his focus.
- David said the adductor strain occurred during the last rally of the first-set tiebreak. I think it might have happened when he hit the backhand that set up Gimeno-Traver's decisive winner.
- At 2-3 in the second set, David called for the trainer and after a lengthy discussion (during which he was advised to retire) had his thigh strapped up. Though he said afterwards that he could neither move nor serve, I didn't think it was too obvious that his movement was impaired by the injury. What was very obvious, however, was how he changed his game plan and really tried to keep the points as short as possible.
- At 5-3 in the third set, David had a match point on Gimeno-Traver's serve but the Spaniard saved it with an ace.
- At 5-4, David served for the match and just like when he was trying to close out the first set, he dropped his serve to 15.
- Down 5-6 in the third, it took an epic game and a veritable deuce battle for David to finally reach the tiebreak (though he didn't face any break points).
- During the decisive third-set tiebreak, I got so carried away that I completely forgot to take any notes (which I usually do). But I remember that David had two further match points before eventually converting what was overall his fourth.

Update
Match highlights (thanks, Andvari)...




And the third-set tiebreak...






(EPA)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Next Stage - Copa Telmex Round 2

Update II
David has reached the quarterfinal of Copa Telmex by defeating Daniel Gimeno-Traver 6-7(5), 6-4, 7-6(7) . - In a true rollercoaster of a match...
Report, pics etc. tomorrow.

David suffered an adductor strain during the match (and had to get his right thigh strapped up because of it). It's not clear yet whether he will be able to contest his quarterfinal match.


Tonight, David plays his second-round match against Daniel Gimeno-Traver, currently ranked #80, who beat Nicolas Almagro in the first round.

It'll be the second encounter between David and Gimeno-Traver. The first one, which took place a year ago, also in the second round of the Copa Telmex, David won 7-5, 6-2.

Here's hoping that David will be able to add another good match to his list, whatever the outcome may be. And that once more, he'll be able to play without any discomfort.(Photo: EFE)

Update
Tamar's photos from yesterday added here.

Interlude: Davis Cup Dilemma

Maybe you'll remember, after the news came about Delpo having pulled out of the upcoming Davis Cup tie against Sweden (March 5-7), an article appeared on DiarioShow.com, claiming that David isn't going to play in Stockholm, either. And that this simply hasn't been made public yet.
Since then, David has talked about his undying passion for playing Davis Cup in various interviews, always stressing that he really wants to play the tie, even without getting enough preparation.

Now there's a new article from Infobae.com that maybe helps to shed some light on the whole situation and the conflicting reports...
Less than three weeks before the start of the Davis Cup 2010 and now that the captains of the other countries begin to submit their team nominations for the first round, Modesto "Tito" Vázquez knows he cannot count on Juan Martin Del Potro and that the presence of Nalbandian largely depends on what his doctors say.

And the doctors, as David himself said yesterday, are having none of it, none of this rushing of things, let alone with a sudden change of surface in the middle of it all, going from the clay of Buenos Aires and Acapulco, the only two tournaments before the tie, to playing in Stockholm on an extremely fast carpet surface. [According to the Davis Cup website, the surface in Stockholm will be "hard", not that it makes any difference.]

"The doctors have advised me not to play (Davis Cup) because I could risk my rehabilitation. But I really want to play," Nalbandian said after his 6-2 7-6(2) victory over the Italian Potito Starace.
So it looks like David will once again have to decide between his passion for playing Davis Cup and the risk it could mean for his health. When faced with similar situations in the past, David chose to play. And we know what came out of that... It remains to be seen what his decision will be, this time around.

Update
On a lighter note, here's a new Q&A (in English) with David.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Comeback Match Part II - The Winner is: David


(Mauro Alfieri/La Nacion)

David has won his first official match in nine months, eventually prevailing against Potito Starace 6-2, 7-6(2). After play had to be suspended last night, the match had to be completed today and this second part of it unfolded rather differently from the first, with the second set going to a tiebreak. There, David dropped the first two points - and then won seven in a row.

This victory means that David will now face Daniel Gimeno-Traver (who beat Nicolas Almagro) in the second round. Just like last year, by the way. The match will take place on Wednesday evening at 7.30pm local.

Unlike in the first set of the match, both David and his opponent Starace didn't have too many problems holding serve. While David, who served a lot better than on Monday night, didn't face a single break point throughout the set, he was also unable to convert the two chances he had to break Starace's serve as the Italian came up with some great serves in those moments. David also wasn't able to dictate play quite as much as on Monday and he found it more difficult to finish off points, showing a poor shot selection at times, which I'd put down to his lack of match practice.
The eventual tiebreak David began by gifting Starace a mini-break with a backhand error. But after going down 0-2, David went on a tear and won 7 points in a row, once again playing the aggressive tennis we saw from him on Monday and finally converting his first match point with a well-timed attack at the net, forcing the error from Starace.

Some quotes from David after the match...
Both last night and today I felt perfect, without experiencing any discomfort. We now have to wait [and see how I feel] after the match but I'm really very happy.

I am happy to play tennis again, to compete. Having spent so much time away from the circuit, playing in Argentina, at home, helped to motivate me even more.
(Source: Telam via MundoD)

I'm happy to be back, playing matches. I did very well in training but a match is something different, and you don't know how well you'll be able to play the important points. But I felt comfortable.

I think that for a first match, I played very well. But I still have to improve some things and the body needs to adjust to the demands [of playing matches]. I didn't feel any discomfort but we'll have to see what happens, day by day. There's still a bit of uncertainty.
(Source: La Nacion)

(EFE)

More photos here.

David's Comeback Match Part I - Review


(Óle)

After 47 minutes, a record-breaking total of six breaks in eight games and David taking the first set 6-2, his comeback match against Potito Starace had to be suspended last night because of torrential rains in Buenos Aires.
Hopefully, the match will be continued today (third match Cancha Central, after Gasquet vs Chela; around 3.15pm local) as the weather forecast predicts more rain... (Key statements from a new interview with David as well as more photos from last night I've added here.)


(Marcelo Figueras/Clarin)

A look back at what happened last night.
Walking into the stadium to play his first match after nine months, David seemed surprisingly relaxed and more happy to finally be back than nervous. My impression also was that he looked fitter than he did in December for the exhos and that he has lost a few more kilos. Another thing he has lost - his trademark ponytail. Directly before the start of the match, David made a gesture with his hand that, with hindsight, can only be called prophetic as he held out his hand, feeling for rain...

David had to serve first, started the match with a first backhand winner and without displaying any signs of nerves managed to hold to 30. A good start and very important in that moment, though it would be the last time that he was able to hold fairly comfortably.
On return, however, David came out all guns blazing. From the start, he got a good read on Starace's serve, both first and second, and was able to put the Italian under immediate pressure with aggressive, deep returns that either drew errors or allowed David control of the rallies. The result were two break points for David in this game, the second of which he was able to convert when Starace's attempt to counter David's drop-shot with a drop-shot of his own landed wide. Break David, 2-0.
David's next service game saw the first bit of serve & volley from him. But it also saw his first serve percentage starting to go down and David struggling on second serve. After wasting a couple of game points with backhand errors, David had to save a first breakpoint before he finally "pulled himself together again" and managed to consolidate his break with a beautiful forehand long-line. 3-0.
Back on return, David continued to look more comfortable then when serving. It was during the return games that David was able to play with more variety and come to the net, thanks his returns. Even if he missed three of those in this game, all three of them at break point... But only to follow it up with yet another great one that set up a fourth one and this time, it was a forehand error by Starace that gave David the double break and a 4-0 lead.
But that double break was short-lived. At this point, the service games on both sides (except the very first one) had been hard-fought and included several deuces. But this was to change now. A rather sloppy game from David with several unforced errors and an admittedly great drop-shot by Starace saw the Italian recover one of the breaks, 4-1. But only to then immediately drop his own serve again to love with a really poor game. Double break restored, 5-1.
Then it was David's turn to serve for the match... With David quickly down 0-30, Starace managed to outplay David with a drop-shot/passing shot combination that set up 3 break points. And then Starace followed it up with a forehand winner. Re-break again, 5-2.
This was the moment I thought David might have lost his focus or that maybe, he was growing a little tired. But the next (and last) game would prove me wrong. After another great return to set up the forehand winner and get to 15-30, the moment came for the most spectacular rally of the night... But you can see it for yourself, in the YouTube clip below (thanks, Andvari!). Eventually, David converted his second set point and in style - with a return winner.

All in all, I'd say that it was a good start. Just like in the exho matches last December, David's forehand seemed improved and more solid than it often was in the past. He played very aggressively from the baseline and constructed his points well, often using his backhand to set up the eventual winner (which often came with the forehand). I also thought that he moved well, given the circumstances. The only thing that was far from impressive was his serve... It'll be interesting to see whether he simply had a bad serving day or whether there's more to it. - And I can only hope that we'll get to see it today, that the match can be finished...

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Day of David's Return


(Infobae.com)

Update
After David won the first set 6-2 the match had to be suspended due to rain.
It seems unlikely that play can resume tonight and the match will probably have to be finished tomorrow. I'll try to keep you posted.




(Daniel Feldman/Clarin)

After 287 days of waiting for us, hip surgery and rehabilitation for David, countless interviews, a first training session streamed live on the net, some promising matches at San Juan and the Copa Argentina, a trip to Auckland and an abdominal tear - the day has now finally come for David's comeback.

At 7.30pm local, David will walk onto the Cancha Central at the BALTC to play his first match since May 4, 2009. And I'm almost finding it a little difficult to believe that we'll actually get to see him play, tonight...

More stream links will be posted in the sidebar in time for the match. If you have a link you'd like to share, please post it in the comments.

And here's what David looks like, now. This photo is from Saturday's event at the Parque de los Niños...


(Copa Telmex/Sergio Llamera)

More photos can be found here. (Thanks, Tamar.)
And here (on the forum at David Ferrer's site; thanks Jenny.)

Just a few more hours to go now...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Copa Telmex Draw

Now this really is the official version, slightly different from the first version that was up on the tournament site. But for David, nothing has changed...

[1] David Ferrer (ESP) vs Simon Greul (GER)
Peter Luczak (AUS) vs Frederico Gil (POR)
Marcel Granollers (ESP) vs QUALIFIER
Fabio Fognini (ITA) vs [6] Igor Andreev (RUS)

[3] Nicolas Almagro (ESP) vs Daniel Gimeno-Traver (ESP)
Potito Starace (ITA) vs David Nalbandian (ARG)
Oscar Hernandez (ESP) vs QUALIFIER
Pablo Cuevas (URU) vs [5] Albert Montañes (ESP)


And it's also official now that David will play his comeback match against Italian clay courter Potito Starace. They've met twice so far. Both matches took place two years ago, both were played on clay. And both times it was David who prevailed in the end. Their last match (quarterfinal at Acapulco 2008) I was able to watch and there, David beat Starace fairly easily 6-3, 6-3. A week earlier in that year's Copa Telmex quarterfinal however, David had to come back from losing the first set and survive a second-set tiebreak before finally managing to seal his victory in the third, 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4. What a hard-fought and emotional match that must have been, you can catch a glimpse of in the YouTube clip below...

A look at Starace's stats for this year reveals that apart from reaching the quarterfinal at Sydney, he mostly didn't make it past the first round. Also at Santiago, on clay, last week (where he lost to Luczak). I haven't seen Starace play in quite a while now but I'd say he has a fairly strong serve for a clay courter and that much will depend on whether David finds a way of handling it. Apart from that, Starace really loves to play drop-shots. So David will have to be prepared to do some running - or find a way of keeping Starace too busy to play them.

All in all, I think this is a classic case of - it could've been better but it could've also been a lot worse for David. And for my part, I'm not going to think about what might come after this first match. Not yet...


So here's a look at David, winning his Copa Telmex 2008 match against Starace and then celebrating his victory with none other than Diego Maradona, who was there to support him. The quality isn't great (it was filmed from the stands) but it gives you an idea of the atmosphere at the BALTC - which will certainly be just as spectacular for David's comeback...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Quiet before the Storm


(La Nacion)

With the tenth edition of the Copa Telmex now merely four days away, David has arrived in Buenos Aires and taken up the final stage of his preparation, training at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club (source: La Nacion). At the same time, the excitement as well as the expectations are on the rise. Virtually every article about the Copa Telmex in the Argentine press makes sure to mention who will be the star and main attraction of the tournament - David. Making his comeback after nine months away from the Tour at Argentina's "Cathedral of Tennis". In his home country, all eyes will be on him.

This year's anniversary edition of the Copa Telmex will see a modification of the tournament schedule, with the semis and the final now played in the evening (to avoid the heat). And for the first time, the semis and the final will be shown live at various cinemas across the country. Apart from that, there's a new addition to the tournament's schedule of events, David's exhibition match against David Ferrer on the beach at the Parque de los Niños on Saturday (6pm local). But what's perhaps more important - Saturday should also be the day the draw gets made. So far, I haven't been able to find out when exactly the ceremony will take place. But I'll do my best to figure it out and post the draw as soon as it's available.
Among the top seeds David could end up facing in his comeback match are David Ferrer (which I'd call the worst case scenario), Juan Carlos Ferrero, Nicolas Almagro and Juan Monaco.


Update (Friday 12/02)
We've already discussed it in the comments, last night the news came that due to continuing tendinitis problems with his right wrist, Delpo has pulled out of Marseille, Dubai - and the upcoming Davis Cup tie. Once more leaving it, or so it seems, to David to lead Argentina's team against Sweden. La Nacion have published a brief statement from David about Delpo's injury.
It's an injury that really handicaps you, it's very annoying. It's a pity that he won't be able to play Davis Cup. I hope he recovers and that he can return as soon as possible because this is a part of the season he could otherwise really make the most of.
In a TV interview aired last night (which Anna has summarized in the comments for this post - thanks) David talked about the importance of all players on the team committing to the Davis Cup cause and about the special meaning it has for him.
- Not exactly news for anyobody with but a fleeting interest in David and his career.
And that makes it even more strange that last night this article appeared on DiarioShow.com. They claim "to be in the position to announce" that David "is also going to step back from this commitment" [i.e. the Davis Cup tie] although he hasn't made that decision public yet.

This is the latest interview with David (for Cronista.com) I've been able to find. In it, he talks not only about his impending comeback but also about the Davis Cup. And here, his attitude towards it seems completely unchanged...
Q: Any doubts concerning your fitness after what happened in Auckland?

David: No, because I know that I've recovered from that tear, as well as from hip surgery. Those are different things and I've had good treatment for both.

Q: Are you afraid of not being able to compete at the highest level? Or do you think that you will be able to do even better [than before]?

David: I'm not afraid because I'm sure that I'll play at my level again. I just need match practice, four or five tournaments to get my top form back and show that I can improve.

Q: Heat, clay... Is the Copa Telmex the right tournament for your return after the injury pause?

David: Sure, it wasn't my plan to come back here. I wanted to get here with more time to prepare. But the heat and the slow court are just the conditions, nothing more. What really matters is that I'll make an appropriate comeback in front of my home crowd.

Q: The surgery made you fall behind in the rankings. Does it trouble you to see yourself ranked #140 in the world?

David: I'm not worried about the ranking. I have a protected ranking and that allows me to enter tournaments with the same ranking I had before I got injured. Or I get wildcards. I'm going to go up in the ranking again as I play more matches, it's a natural process.

Q: Which goals do you have for this year?

David: My first goal is to play and feel healthy again. Then, obviously, I want to win the Davis Cup and a Grand Slam.

Q: The next Davis Cup tie is in three weeks. Do you think you can get in form in time for the tie against Sweden?

David: I'm always ready to play Davis Cup although I have to admit that I will have played only very few matches, going into that tie. We'll have to wait and see what the captain decides. For my part, I know that I'll do whatever I can to be there.
In other words, with David's comeback match now merely a couple of days away, there are conflicting reports about his Davis Cup participation (though I would probably need to hear it from David himself to believe that he'd deliberately skip a Davis Cup tie). And there is also still the mystery of the absence of David's name on the entry lists for Indian Wells and Miami. A clear statement from David would help. But right now, it looks like we might be in for more of the same - waiting...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Promo Clip

Update II (Tuesday 09/02)
No news at the moment. But here's another video to pass the time until David's comeback. The video might take a moment to load but it's worth the wait...
(Thanks Noubar for creating this somewhat unusual homage to David.)


Here's a nice little promo video of David, complete with heroic music, for the Abierto Mexicano Telcel tournament in Acapulco, which seems to have its own YouTube channel now...




Update
For those who've missed it and are wondering what the comments for this post are all about, Argentine TV channel Telefe aired tonight what turned out to be the repeat of a sketch featuring David, filmed back in 2003. (Thanks, Tamar.)

Here's the sketch, it's now on YouTube. (Thanks, Noubar.)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

David fully recovered and ready for his Return

As the Argentine website DiarioShow.com reports, citing sources from David's camp, David has by now completely recovered from his abdominal tear. He is back to "full training" and expected to be in "perfect shape" for his return at the Copa Telmex in Buenos Aires, which starts Monday, February 15.
David is training hard and without any problems. The last time he experienced any discomfort was last week when he felt some occasional abdominal pain while practising his serve.
At the same time, the article claims that David's decision to decline the invitation for Viña Del Mar (or Santiago, as it's now called) was not made as easily as it may have seemed...
DiarioShow.com contacted the player's camp and we were assured that Nalbandian is ready for his comeback in Buenos Aires. We were also told that he's in perfect shape, that he's doing full training and that he was on the verge of playing the tournament in Chile. At the last minute he decided not to take the risk and instead return at the tournament in Palermo [district of Buenos Aires] as planned.
- Brief news but good news.


Update
I just found this new interview with David for the Argentine edition of Newsweek...
Q: You seemed very excited about your comeback and you finished the year 2009 on a high note, playing well at the exhibition events. Does it trouble you much, being injured again?

David: To tell you the truth, yes. I spent a lot of time away from the circuit and I was very excited about the return. I played well at the exhibitions, I enjoyed playing and then to travel down there [to Auckland] and get injured two days before the tournament, to miss the Australian Open... It's not the best thing for your state of mind.

Q: And how are you now? You were invited to play in Chile but didn't...

David: I was doing a full training regime last week, forcing things a little because I wanted to go there but my abdomen didn't respond well enough to it for me to be able to compete this week.

Q: So now you will make your comeback in Buenos Aires. Where a strong field awaits you...

David: The truth is that it gets more difficult, every year. Some really good players will be there, it's going to be tough. And twice as tough for me because after having been away from the Tour for so long, the first matches will be really hard.

Q: You won the Copa Telmex in 2008. What are your expectations for this year?

David: For now, my goal is to play and to feel good, physically. There's no point in winning a match and then be completely knackered the next day, needing two days to recover. Whatever will be the results, what we're trying to achieve in the coming months is for me to be able to compete at a normal level. Getting there without paying too much attention to the results.

Q: There's talk of maybe changing the surface to hard court in the future. What do you think about this idea?

David: I would like that because I feel more comfortable on faster surfaces. Buenos Aires has always been a clay court event and it would be like changing history. But there are other tournaments that have changed surfaces and it would be a question of getting used to it. To switch to hard court is about attracting Tope Ten players but at the expense of the South American player who doesn't have a top ranking.

Q: What is your goal for 2010?

David: First of all to compete at the top of the circuit and to think about other goals, later. I think I will be fine and able to cause a bit of a stir but most importantly I need to feel good and get a better ranking again.

Q: Is it problematic for you that you have gone down so far in the ranking?

David: For me, that's secondary because I have a protected ranking, I'll get wildcards, so I'm going to play all the major tournaments of the year. And if I feel good and if I'm able to do well at those tournaments, the ranking will take care of itself. It's not a problem for me.

Q: Roger Federer said this week that to play Davis Cup means having to shelve a Masters 1000.

David: That's why Davis Cup means a commitment and a lot of pressure, because it forces you to defer playing important tournaments. But I've always played Davis Cup. It has always been part of my schedule. It's very different from the other tournaments, which is what makes it so incredible.

Q: So we'll see you play against Sweden (March 5-7 in Stockholm)?

David: And right now, I still can't even play an official tournament... I don't know if I'll be there. For the moment, I just have to try to be in good shape.

Q: Is there less pressure from outside now, after Juan Martin Del Potro's popularity burst?

David: Having another player changes things. When there were three of four of us inside the Top Ten, the attention of the media and the people was more divided. If there's only one, it's normal that it's all about him.

Q: What did you do during all the this time without playing?

David: A little bit of everything. I spent time with my family, my friends, my girlfriend, I enjoyed being at home, something you never have enough time to enjoy with all the travelling. I tried to organise weekend trips, to go fishing or hiking. But I also didn't have a lot of free time because I began with the rehabilitation straight away.

Q: Do you think about what you're going to do after you've retired?

David: I don't know. To tell you the truth, I haven't seriously thought about this yet. I've always said that I'll do this or that but I don't have any definitive plans. It will surely have something to do with my hobbies, fishing, spending time with my folks and I'll see what I'll do in terms of tennis, which is what I love.

Q: If what has happened with Tiger Woods were to happen with a tennis player, would it be the same kind of downfall?

David: If it happened to Federer, probably yes, because he's famous around the world. In cases like this, good news sell but bad news sell a whole lot better.