Among them the Australian Open - and Lleyton Hewitt. And although David said a couple of fairly nice things about him directly after their match, it's clear now that this was not the beginning of a wonderful new friendship. As by now, David is back to his usual statements about Hewitt, that he "doesn't get along" with him and that "there are few who know him and get along with him".
"I would've liked to make it to the quarterfinal but that match against Hewitt was much more than just a first-round encounter. The level during the match was very high, it was like a fourth-round match or a quarterfinal."And here's the 'final verdict' on what happened afterwards, in the second round...
"The dizziness was the result of the fatigue from the previous match. The doctor told me it's normal that the body doesn't want to suffer another, similar strain. Therefore it's tough to recover from matches and go on playing."While David probably didn't exchange more words with Hewitt than necessary, there's somebody else he did talk to while he was in Melbourne. And not because on-court etiquette required it - Juan Martin Del Potro. Apparently the two of them met at the Australian Open and "talked a little". Which is good news, though it's also clear what's the main interest David has in Delpo regaining his form.
"I talked to Del Potro a little in Australia and he told me that he still hasn't been able to gain rhythm. But he's a pillar of the team and hopefully he'll be fine soon so he can play Davis Cup."Someone who recently talked about David is Roger Federer. Now, it's David's turn to talk about Federer, about similarities and (cultural) differences.
"I get along well with Federer, I've known him for many years. It's a very different culture, very cold. We don't have a lot of things in common but on the court we have many good conversations."Though even after all those years on the Tour together, some mysteries still remain.
"Federer's physique is incredible. You never see him with so much as a cold. He doesn't have a very muscular body, wheras Nadal is an animal, his muscles totally defined, it's something in his genes. Federer on the other hand is skinny, doesn't mean anything, he has those little muscles, it's astonishing."Speaking about the toll tennis has taken on his body, David reveals something that perhaps explains his preference for wearing flip-flops - not only in casual surroundings.
"Tennis players often suffer from problems with their joints, which end up getting destroyed by the effort of what we are doing. Until recently, Guga (Kuerten) thought about having surgery again because his hip hurt when he was walking. In one of my toes I have osteoarthritis. That's what happens because of the movement on court. It's no big deal but to have that at age 29, that's how the sport leaves its mark on you."And then there's also David's favourite part of being a tennis pro, the travelling...
For us here in South America, the problem is that the distance we have to travel every year on the Tour is going to wear us out a lot more than an American or a European, who have to travel much less.Finally, and while maintaining that he "always makes an effort to be the number one", David also makes it clear that anything that happens with him and his career happens and will continue to happen on his own terms, regardless of what other people say, criticising those who tell him to do things differently and that "no one is ever happy or content with minding their own business".
I do what I want to do and I'm going to keep doing that with my career and with my life.Come Monday, it'll be time for David to get back to business himself, and his goal of making it back inside the Top 10. And also on Monday, he'll take another step in that direction as, if I'm not mistaken, he'll find himself at #19 when the new rankings list comes out. Inside the Top 20 again for the first time since October 2009.
(David's quotes: Infobae, Jornada Online & C5N)
The draw for Santiago will take place on Saturday, at 7pm local (10pm GMT) and I'll post it as soon as I can get my hands on it.