Saturday, February 19, 2011

Copa Claro QF: David's Defeat in David's Words


(photos: Reuters)

David's week at his favourite 250 event ended today with a quarterfinal exit and a loss to Tommy Robredo, who prevailed 6-4, 6-4.
After heavy, protracted rains had turned the Cancha Central into a sea of red mud, hastily covered with a layer of dry clay before the match, it was clear that this wasn't going to be an easy match for David. Not only because a slow and heavy court is not exactly ideal for his game but most of all because moving on clay isn't David's greatest strength, and even less so on wet clay.

Still, and although Robredo moved much better than he did throughout the match, David did have his chances. In the first set, he seemed solid on serve and closer than Robredo to getting a break - until a poor game at 4-4 cost him his serve and eventually the set. In the second, David broke Robredo and went up 3-0 before surrendering the break again and, eventually, the match.
In my opinion, David began the match playing better than I thought he would, given the circumstances. But then his game and most of all his movement deteriorated as the match went on. David himself, however, apparently wasn't happy with the way he played from the start and he also explains that it was not his leg that was troubling him in the second set:
"The Spaniards are born clay-court players. They're very good and you can't give them any advantages because if you do, they'll beat you. It's as simple as that."

"I didn't start the match very well and Tommy did things better [than I did]. He was more accurate in the important moments. I felt pain in my pubic area. I'm going to determine whether I'm going to play Acapulco but I think it's going to be difficult."
What kind of injury this is exactly and how bad it is - we'll see. But it should be noted that David also told the press that he doesn't want to go to Acapulco because of the current situation there and the security problems (the ATP has advised players to arrive at Acapulco as late possible and then to leave as soon as possible; players have also been told to "limit their movements"). That statement from David didn't go down so well with the ATP and the tournament organisers.
In any case, this year, David is going to severely limit his movement on the clay courts of Europe. At the expense not only of the smaller events but also of Monte Carlo:
"This season, I'm planning to play Davis Cup, Madrid, Rome and Roland Garros [on clay]. The other tournaments I'll play on fast surfaces."
And here's David's final verdict about today's match...
The court was heavy but that's no excuse. He felt more comfortable [playing on it] and he won because he played better.
(Source.)
What's going to happen now, whether or not he'll play Acapulco (my guess is - no), and how serious this new injury is - I can't say. But what makes me think that perhaps it's not too bad is that David hasn't lost a single word about his Davis Cup participation being in doubt. - And that's probably what he's already focusing on right now, Davis Cup...

47 comments:

  1. Good - DC, Indian Wells, and Miami. That's where it really matters.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Now that it looks like Acapulco will be skipped we can start looking forward to the Davis Cup,will Del Potro play,I think I heard somewhere that he wont,any special reason he is not if thats true?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nope, Delpo won't be there. He's playing on hardcourt now, he wants to concentrate on that and on getting his ranking back up.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Monaco and Nalby should get the job done.Would love to see a Argentina-Croatia final.The only time a saw Nalbandian play in person was I think in 2006 or 2007 when they played us in the QF,but I didnt see that much from him becuase Ljubicic who was then in the form of his life beat him easily in straight sets.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ljubicic used to beat David on a fairly regular basis...

    I was hoping Argentina might draw Germany in the first round this year, would've been played here... but nope.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yes Julia, but even in those losses, Nalbandian was often better for most of their matches but failed to close them out. He completely dominated Ljubicic in the first set of IW 2007 and had Ljubicic on serve in the second set, before just crumbling on his own serve at 4-5 I believe. And at Shanghai 2006, he won the first set comfortably, failed to serve out the match twice in the second set, and then lost in a tiebreak 9-7 or something like that. Ljubicic never controlled their matches the way you seem to suggest.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ljubicic if I remember correctly also beat him 6-3,6-1 in the SF of either Indian Wells or Miami,in that period of 2005-2007 Ljubicic would get the better of there meetings,but Ljubo was number 3 in the world at that time.Huge serve very good baseline game,at that point of time,only Fed and Nadal were really as consistent as him,David had the better potential of getting hot and winning MS or GS,but Ljubo was a lot more consistent in the smaller tournaments,but he would fail in the Grand Slams very often,and I mean 1 or 2 round as a topa 4-5 seed.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What I "suggested" is that Ljubicic also beat David a number of times apart from that DC tie. Which he did.
    And, if you insist to make it about this, he was in control of some of their matches. Like when he beat David 2 and 2 at Shanghai 2005, or when he beat him 1 and 2 at Miami 2006. So "never" isn't quite correct.

    ReplyDelete
  9. True, Adrian. Ljubicic beat David five times between 2005 and 2007.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Julia, were you asking me "why Monte Carlo?" I didn't know Madrid and Rome were mandatory. Monte Carlo and Madrid or Rome make the most scheduling sense. Anyway, nice post on Copa Claro. Sounds like if David is totally focused on DC, then he's probably okay. Yeah, too bad about Germany and Argentina in 1st round.

    ReplyDelete
  11. He did control the Miami semifinal. But Nalbandian beat him 2 and 2 at Shanghai 2005. Ljubicic beat him in 3 sets at Shanghai, where like I said, Nalbandian failed to serve out the match twice in the second set.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Right, I mixed that one up. Still, that Miami match was really horrible and left a lasting impression.

    John, mandatory as in the Top30 have to play it - or present a good reason they don't. Monte Carlo is an exception in that sense.

    ReplyDelete
  13. And yeah, too bad, indeed... After all, it's not like David plays any of the tournaments here.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I think hes played Halle a few times in the past

    ReplyDelete
  15. He did. But I don't like that event and I'm glad I didn't travel there to see David because he played there twice and both times he lost in the first round...
    Though the infamous Schüttler match I would've liked to see. lol

    He also played Munich and Hamburg in the past but I took my chance, going to Vienna 2009 - and we all know how well that turned out.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Julia, I'm curious to know what you mean by a "lasting impression" after the Miami semifinal in 2006? I know it was a definitive victory for Ljubicic, but it was also a major anomaly in their series. I just saw it as a loss, a very frustrating one but nothing to take "lasting impressions" away from.

    ReplyDelete
  17. It's called "adding a touch of humour".

    ReplyDelete
  18. Haha,dont get mad Chris,it was a good rivalry,Im not saying Ljubo was or is a better player but as a match up,he was really bad for Nalby,because of the serve.Even though he is ranked righer at the moment,its just beacuse of the Indian Wells win,he will drop to around 30 if not lower after that,while David can really only rise until Washington and Toronto.

    ReplyDelete
  19. different sense of humor I guess

    ReplyDelete
  20. Adrian, I respect Ljubicic very much and enjoyed watching him during his better moments. His run at the end of 2005 was very impressive. But even with his serve, Nalbandian owned him for the better part of their matches, but then in his vintage fashion crumbled inexplicably. Ljubicic certainly dominated the Miami match, but the 2006 Shanghai match as well as the 2007 IW match were lost by Nalbandian more than they were won by Ljubicic.

    I think Ljubicic would admit as much, frankly. All he did is what a lot of people do against Nalbandian, which is basically say to themselves "remain stable and he may fall apart". That's what happened in Shanghai and IW.

    Nalbandian's level in that first set at IW against Ljubicic was a brilliant display that very few can produce. That match was very similar to Nalbandian's recent loss to Murray, when Murray basically just held on for dear life and lo and behold, Nalbandian gave him the match.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Yep. A different kind of humour.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Chris, I think your opinion could basically be summed up in a couple of sentences. "Everyone is inferior to Nalbandian. They only beat him because he crumbles away matches. All you have to do is look at proof of [insert match] or [two games or one set from the match] as proof."

    ReplyDelete
  23. In certain respects, yes, I think Nalbandian is superior to everyone, incluidng Nadal and Federer and Djokovic. When it comes to playing from the baseline, Nalbandian is king. But in other areas (e.g. mental sturdiness in tough moments) he's far too erratic and inconsistent, which is why he can destroy Robredo one month and then lose a tight match to him the next month.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Nalbandians not superior to Federer or Nadal,there are reasons Davids never won a Grand Slam,unlike Fed and Rafa,we can talk about talent,even Ljubo once said "put a coin somewhere on the court,Nalbandian can hit it,never seen a guy that talentd",but looking at their overall sucess its crazy to call Nalby superior.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I think I can safely say that I'm big David fan. I like his game better than anybody else's on the Tour. And of course I want him to win everytime he steps on court. But in my mind, that's not the same as thinking he's superior to everybody else. And he surely isn't, compared to Rafa, Federer and Nole.
    That is indeed - crazy.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Is every error he makes just a mental capitulation to you, or giving away a point to his opponent? He was making plenty of errors in this Robredo match because he couldn't hit through the court, so he tried to hit it harder and bigger.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Any word on this "pubic" pain/injury David suffered during the Robredo match?

    ReplyDelete
  28. He said he was having some trouble with it during the match but made it sound like it wasn't really bad - at his press conference, that is.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Fingers crossed "the area" is ok.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Julia, I am not saying that Nalbandian is simply superior in everything that makes someone successful at tennis. He obviously isn't, otherwise the results of Federer, Nadal, and even Djokovic and Murray wouldn't dwarf his results like they do. One area in which those guys are far better than Nalbandian is simply stamina/durability. That is something that has nothing to do with tennis talent per se, but it is significant in the long run in determing one's results.

    I have always viewed Nalbandian's shortcomings as a player as petty but for that reason very vexing deficiencies. They are things that can be corrected; e.g. serve technique or conditioning or even assertiveness in important moments like serving for a match. Those are things anyone can learn.

    What can't be taught is what Adrian alluded to, or what Federer and Nadal themselves have complemented Nalbandian for. Federer has often been chippy and snide after losses, but after losing to Nalbandian he called him "so dominant" from the back of the court. Nadal called him "impossible to play" from the baseline. Want to know why Nadal said it? Look at Madrid, Paris, or Indian Wells.

    ReplyDelete
  31. It's still the same old same old. You think of David as the perfect player with ultimate talent who could win every single match he plays if only he trained a bit harder and got a great serve.
    I think of David as a human being and the player that he is, with all of his strengths and his shortcomings. And I acccept the fact that he's 29, in the twilight of his career, and that he has had hip surgery.

    You want him to prove you and your ideas about him right. I simply like to watch him play and take him and his game for what it is.

    ReplyDelete
  32. oh newspapers again ?
    Superior to everyone? not really.
    I wonder what Rafa will do to David if they met on clay, probably won't let him win more than 3 games, you cant Generalize everything, yes David at his best is almost impossible to beat in hardcourts/Indoors, but yet possible, cause it happened over and over again.The thing is, we cant ask david to play his best everytime, and he certainly isn't, thats why he loses, to "inferior" players sometimes.Nalby can crush Rafa, and he did, even IW 5 mp, Miami after hip operation, almost beat him again, but I dont c him carrying 8 GSs,because he is not the perfect player.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Nalbandian is the most talented player I think with Agassi. But Agassi made use of his talent much more and was fitter because he worked enough hard.
    In the game, Nalbandian in top form is maybe the best, but his problems which we know come because of his bad serve. In the situations where he loses his concentration and nerves others do it to, but their good service make them feel better and win their games much more. Against Hewitt Nalbandian had to win most of his service games with saving break points and that required him a huge concentration, but then at 2:0 in the third he collapsed his concentration and couldn't win more than 2 games in next 9 games. So sometimes Nalbandian is the master of saving break points and winning important games, but other times he is the worst in the same fall. And it has to do mostly with his serve. I watched Soderlings match against Youzhny last week and saw that he is not a top 5 player. In almost every service game of Sod Youzhny come to deuce with great tennis and won I think all long classic rallies, but Soderling never felt in his own service games because of his big service and some gifts of Youzhny. Youzhny gifted him 3 huge presents especially in the second set where he had a big chance in a breack point at 5:4 and the same in the begin of the same set. And Soderling won the tournament and is still on winning streak until now which is a shock if you compare his talent with David's or most of others. And Youzhny gifted yesterday the match to Cilic. He had big chances to go with double break in the third set, but he broke not ore than one time. And at a match point at 5:3 he had his last chance to make a double break and win the match but he didn't use it and lost all following games and the match which is very annoying. All players I am for are losing matches they should win due to different problems, lol. I like by Youzhny at most his conter. He can hit a hard, fast and strong ball even harder in every difficult situation and position.

    ReplyDelete
  34. if nalby feels more comfortable on hard court why he played here in south america instead of playing in san jose and memphis because during the european clay court season there wont be any other possibility to play on.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Well, losing to Tommy Robredo is no shame by any means..
    We can't just expect him to go winning title after title when he is still recovering.
    With a bit of patience, David will be back in the top 12/15 by the end of the ear

    ReplyDelete
  36. Agree with anonymous,I think he will crack the top 10 at one point,he really defends nothing,he will get really hot at either one GS or MS,make the SF,thats enough points to get their,he just needs one good showing in a big event.

    ReplyDelete
  37. i dont think David is still recovering at the moment.
    And he shouldnt be extra relaxed for not having to defend points, we dont want him to reach washington without wining a title, or gaining some good masters points, because when those 500 pts drops, that will get him outside the top 30. He should do a good job in IW/Miami for now.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Any official or unofficial news on Nalby playing in Acapulco?

    ReplyDelete
  39. i hope he will play in Acapulco he must prove that he is still a good clay court player

    ReplyDelete
  40. nalbandian out of Player's list on acapulco website.... ufff

    ReplyDelete
  41. Anonymous, I would have loved to see him play some more but after the hip surgery there is no reason whatsoever to play a clay-court event unless it is Davis Cup, Masters, or Roland Garros. It is simply too risky.

    ReplyDelete
  42. The draw of Acapulco came out,Nalbandians not in it...

    ReplyDelete
  43. People, when I read that he was going to play in Chile, Argentina, Mexico and the DC, all that on clay... i was like WHAT?!!
    It's not about proving that he still is a good/great clay player... it's about avoiding clay the more as possible!
    There are only two reasons for this stupid choice: how much he loves playing here and the DC as local. There was no way he could play all that on clay. It's too much demanding for his body after the surgery. He doctor keeps telling him that, Diego Rodriguez keeps insisting on that too. He wanted to win here and be ready for the DC.Well, sorry but he can't play that much on that surface.
    I'm sorry but when he couldn't play on friday, the best thing for him was losing against Robredo. Can you imagine playing Tommy and almagro at the same day?
    He still is on treatment for his hip.
    He must avoid this surface. Period.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Anna, I've never seen you post here before but you are exactly and totally right. I said the same thing back in January and everyone here jumped on me, telling me that Nalbandian has the right to schedule however he wants. Yes, I said, he has that right, but it simply is not wise to play that much on clay after the surgery and what happened in 2010 at Buenos Aires and Monte Carlo.

    This is better. He can just play DC and then have more energy for Indian Wells and Miami, which are the type of events he has to do well at if he wants to get back in the Top 10 anyhow.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I posted a lot here the past year, but now I'm with a lot of work.
    He said here in some interviews that it was better for him play the US tournaments (hard surface) but he choose clay due to the Bs As ATP and the DC. At this point of his career and watching how happy he looks when he plays here, I agree with him, even if it's not the best for him. BUT I don't understand why he went to Chile. It's nothing new that the courts there are not very good (to be kind), and for a player who doesn't like to play on clay/ doesn't feel confortable on it (even without surgery he doesn't like it) is worst. So the ATP Bs. As.? ok, We enjoy watching him playing here and he loves it. The DC is out of discussion. He pretty much sealed his surgery in that tie against Sweeden when he won against Soderling in that match where he ended crying (I never saw him that way after a match) just to put Argentina in the SF. The past year going in the last minute to play because he felt better but not totally recovered to play the doubles match and he ended playing the last point. We love him for that, but it's not rational. He never was rational about the DC, I can't expect that from him now. So those two will go without doubts. Acapulco? Hmm. It's not the best option. Ok, it's a ATP 500, but I didn't see David playing that with the DC tie so close, knowing that playing on clay is a risk. So honestly? I saw the whole "not going" coming.
    But this whole clay mini tour? Viña/Bs.As/Acapulco/DC? Very bad choice.I still can't understand why he went to Viña del Mar?
    With his hip surgery he must reduce playing on clay to minimum. The bad thing is Argentina at the DC always uses clay. So, with a lot of possible ties as local this year, he'll be doing it more than he should...

    ReplyDelete
  46. What happened between martin Jaite and nalbandian?anybody knows that?it seems like Nalby is struggling with (or it is only because of his hip injury?) his serve. I have seen him serving well only once against Murray since he returned to the tour.During the Jaite period Nalby's serve was very good!he needs better serves for the hard court for sure!On clay court it is not that important!

    ReplyDelete
  47. Jaite simply didn't want to travel on the Tour anymore, to have more time for his family and focus on other things (like being the tournament director of the Copa Claro).
    I don't think David is struggling with his serve more than usual. Though his hip surely doesn't make it easier for him to serve well.

    ReplyDelete