Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Look ahead at the Golden Swing

Update (26/01)
Here are some quotes from David's latest interview (for Telam). He talks about the Australian Open but there's no mention of any physical problems, apart from not having been able to recover in time. Instead, David seems determined to focus on the positive side of things.
"If I play the way I did against Hewitt then the good results will come."
"I was very pleased, both with my tennis and the physical aspect because I played at a very high level for almost five hours. The match was so exciting that the crowd stayed on at the stadium throughout the match."
"Obviously I would've liked to go deeper - I lost in the second round - but I had very bad luck with the draw because Hewitt is one of the toughest players you can face in the first round."

Nalbandian told Telam that because the match ended so late (at 1.30am local time), he was only able to go to sleep at five in the morning and that was counterproductive for being able to rest well.

"I played the last match of the day and I knew that if it was a long one then that would probably complicate my recovery. Most of all, the match was very stressful and that made it much more difficult for me to relax."
"I have a lot of confidence in my game and proof of that also is the final that I reached at Auckland - which I played ahead of the Australian Open - where I lost to David Ferrer from Spain, who's the number 7 in the world."
And of course, there's now also something else on David's mind...
"As everybody knows, the Davis Cup is my priority and I will be proud to be representing my country again."

No news from David at the moment. Which in this case probably means that he's back home, taking a break. But also preparing for the next stage of the season. So here's a look at what's ahead for David (and for us) in the weeks to come...

Four clay-court tournaments in four weeks, in Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico - the so-called Golden Swing. For the clay-court specialists it's an opportunity to get matches and gain ranking points. For David, it's the chance to return to his "home tournament", the Copa Claro (formerly Copa Telmex) in Buenos Aires - and to prepare for the Davis Cup first-round tie against Romania on clay (March 4-6). His self-professed objective for this part of the season.
These are the three tournaments where - if all goes well - we'll see David in the next four weeks:

Movistar Open, Santiago (January 31 - February 6)

(La Tercera)

You may still know the Chilean ATP event as Viña del Mar, which is where it was held from 2000 to 2009, before returning to its original location, last year. And it was still held at Viña del Mar, back when David played this tournament in 2001/2. - A long time ago. But I bet that David still remembers his second-round exit in 2002... The only time he ever lost a match, getting defaulted.
Apparently, David insulted a linesman who had reported him to the umpire for coaching (source: Clarin). Not the best exit, really - but that as well was a long time ago.
Already last year, the organisers showed an avid interest in getting David to make another appearance at their tournament, offering him a wildcard and waiting until the very last minute for him to make up his mind. He didn't play Santiago in the end (making his comeback at the Copa Telmex instead) but I'm sure that their efforts will have played a role with David's decision to return to Chile for the first time after nearly a decade.

David will be the top seed at Santiago. Also on the entry list: Juan Monaco, Thomaz Bellucci, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Juan Ignacio Chela and Potito Starace.

Copa Claro, Buenos Aires (February 14 - 20)

(Getty Images)

The name is a different one this year (due to a new title sponsor) but apart from that everything is still the same - for now. As this might be the last time that the tournament at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club will be played on clay. Or at least, that's the plan of tournament director (and David's former coach) Martin Jaite, who's determined to turn the Copa Claro into a hardcourt event, in order to attract top players. Whether Jaite will get his way remains to be seen but in any case, hardcourts at the BALTC wouldn't be something entirely new - as they're laid every year in December for the Copa Argentina exhibition.
This year marks David's eighth appearance at his "home event" and apart from a pause between 2004 and 2006, he has played it every year since 2001. Including the one time he managed to lose two singles matches in the course of the same edition - in 2007, when this was one of the ATP's test events for the round-robin mode. And of course, this tournament also was where David made his comeback on the Tour, last season. Over the years, David has reached three quarterfinals at Buenos Aires (including the one last year he couldn't play due to injury), he made the semifinal in 2009 and won the title in 2008, defeating José "Chucho" Acasuso in the final. In other words, it's a good record that David has at this event - not surprisingly.

On the entry list: David Ferrer, Nicolas Almagro, Stanislas Wawrinka, Albert Montañes and also Alexandr Dolgopolov, who's currently making waves at the Australian Open.

Abierto Mexicano Telcel 500, Acapulco (February 21 - 26)

(Getty Images)

Acapulco is the biggest tournament of the Golden Swing, its grand finale and "crowning jewel" as the ATP website puts it. But David's very own history with this event is a rather mixed one. His first two appearances (2003/4) ended with early-round losses. In 2008, however, having won the title at Buenos Aires the previous week, David managed to extend his winning streak to a total of nine matches, marching through the rounds at Acapulco without losing a set - until losing two of them in the final against Nicolas Almagro.
But ever since that final, David has had little luck, playing Acapulco. Or rather - trying to play it.
In 2009, he had contracted a viral infection at Buenos Aires, played his first-round match at Acapulco with a fever and lost. Last year, it was the muscular tear he picked up at the Copa Telmex that kept him from playing altogether. In short - this is the biggest one of the Golden Swing tournaments. But whether David will have any chance of doing well at Acapulco, that will depend on the state he's in when he gets there. And I hope he gets there, this time.

On the entry list: David Ferrer, Fernando Verdasco, Gael Monfils, Nicolas Almagro and Stanislas Wawrinka.


  1. very nice post that summarizes the Gold Swing Julia, i noticed that Santiago is the only one with an easy field, Copa Claro and Acapulco is way much tougher having In-forms Wawrinka, ferrer and Dolgo, he will have the home crown in the 1st one though.
    So i think Santiago now is a real big chance for a 250 points in the bag. 4 days until the draw, nothing left.

  2. Hey, Noubar, glad you figured out a way to beat the system. Good to see you back. Yeah, Santiago is the easiest of the three. No Ferrer there. Dolgo is making the AO exciting.

  3. thanks, ya dolgo might do what david did in Wimbly 2001

  4. 250 points in Santiago, as much points as in Doha? wow, it's good that David is going to play there. And how many points are for the winner in Buenos Aires and Acapulco?
    I become gradually a bit fear when the clay tournaments come closer. I hope David won't get injured.

  5. Buenos Aires: 250. Acapulco: 500.
    The points for the smaller events are listed on the schedule page. ;)

  6. Ferrer, the Auckland winner, is in the semifinal with another straight set win in this tournament, 6:4 6:2 6:3 against Nadal.

  7. Ferrer is also one of the fittest - if not the most fit - player on tour. The rules that apply to him don't apply to many other people.

  8. Hmm, what happened to Nadal? I didn't even bother recording it. Okay, looks like Nadal was struggling with some kind of injury from what I read.

  9. Wow. What a shocker. I went to bed after the Murray-Dolgo match. I'm glad for Ferrer. He's a bulldog and deserves it. Wonder if it was the lingering illness that Rafa was suffering from as late as Saturday.

  10. Just read it was a hamstring strain. No excuses from Rafa, though. Hope David is relaxed and recovered for Santiago now.

  11. Rafa had some kind of injury. He had a medical timeout after 2:2 (I think it was that score, about half an hour) to get treatment. He had his left tigh taped and they talked about groin, hip or an hamstring injury. He fought but there was clearly pain when he moved hard to the left. I really thought he would retire but it seems he didn't want to end that match with Ferrer that way.
    But Ferrer played great and it could have been a fantastic match if Rafa were able to play with full movement. David is in a fantastic form!

  12. Thank you John for the exact injury!

    I also hope that David was able to recover well!

  13. Looks like David is fine, judging by the new interview. And with another DC tie now to look forward too... ;)

    Having read what happened I'm glad I didn't watch Ferru/Rafa.

  14. Hey Noubar you are back :)
    I'm so over the Australian open and I'm already waiting for next week to come :)
    I came back home to see Rafa two sets down, 0-2 in the third set and with teary eyes, not to take anything away from Ferrer but I felt so bad for Rafa!