Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Withdrawal Method - David out of Nice and Roland Garros

(Getty Images)

The courts are being prepared at the Stade Roland-Garros in Paris. But once again, David won't be among those, playing on them. Earlier today, his spokesman Bernardo Ballero delivered the news that David has decided to pull out of Nice and Roland Garros, making this the third year in a row that he will miss the clay-court Slam.
Ballero spoke to Argentine news agency Telam, I'll quote from their article.
"Because of the fact that he didn't get match practice on clay, Nalbandian decided not to play Nice and Roland Garros and to continue his recovery in order to make his comeback on the Tour in the best possible way."

"David had a fever that affected him for a week and delayed his training, and that led to him, taking the decision to withdraw from Nice and Roland Garros."

Being one of the Grand Slam tournaments, Roland Garros is played in the best-of-five format, which means that it requires a greater physical effort from the players. An issue that was also evaluated among Nalbandian's team.
Therefore, he will return to the Tour at the Queen's Club tournament in England, which starts on June 6.
- Apparently with a wildcard, since David's name is not on the Queen's Club entry list.

More from Ballero, this time via Cancha Llena:
As his spokesman Bernardo Ballero confirmed to canchallena.com, Nalbandian is not yet in top shape, physically. A week after the operation, which took place in March, David suffered a severe fever, because of which he had to rest for 10 days and which made him lose five to six kilos of muscle mass that according to Ballero he "still hasn't recovered".

"He shouldn't have any problems, coming back at Queen's," the spokesman said. Nalbandian will return at this event, prior to the tournament at Wimbledon, which starts on June 20. He also said that he will play the Davis Cup quarterfinal against Kazakhstan.

That's the official version and as much info as there is at the moment. The rest is questions and speculations. What's clear is that his preparations have been severely affected by his illness and the loss of weight that went with it. But if he's "ready" now as Ballero said in another quote (mentioned in the previous post) the question remains why he doesn't go and give it a try, as he could still pull out later if it doesn't work out. Personally, I'm getting the impression that playing on clay as such (outside of the Davis Cup, I might add) is considered too much of a risk. And I'd like to think that's because of David's latest surgeries. But it's probably something else... Even if that certain something is still two months away.
David will do whatever it takes to be there and in shape for the Davis Cup quarterfinal tie in July. That's the one thing that is certain. Last year, in a similar situation, he skipped Wimbledon for the same reason. So will he travel to Britain this time? I very much hope so - but I wouldn't bet my house on it.


  1. The funny thing to me is that the average person would think you get into form by playing matches,but I guess Nalby has some other methods.

  2. This is not good news, but unfortunately not particularly surprising.

    I am going to Roland Garros for the third year running - is David trying to avoid me?

  3. It's beginning to look that way... ;)
    Well, he has avoided me before. You're not alone. :)

    Adrian, I think that by now everything is all about DC. Last year he didn't play a single match between Monte Carlo and the QF tie - and then he went and beat Davydenko and Youzhny in Moscow. I just hope he's not planning on doing something like that again.

  4. Oh, I don't like the "He's ready to come back but it's not advisable on clay."

  5. I think it's about avoiding clay. Except for DC, of course.

  6. By the way, Cano confirms what I've been thinking, namely that QC still owe David a WC.

  7. at this point im wondering if he will even bother to defend his memphis points?

    he is wasting so many chances to gain ranking points.

  8. Washington, you mean. Well, he'll have 770 points to defend in August. So unless he comes up with another surprise run his ranking will be in free fall...

  9. Talking about Nalbandian's individual career is arrogant busybodying. He has a right to play whenever he wants and schedule however he wants and none of us have the right to ever question it because we're not in his shoes. Davis Cup is very meaningful in Argentina and Nalbandian wants to win it, badly. For that reason, if we take things to their logical extreme, Nalbandian should never ever risk injury by playing a match at any event besides Davis Cup to ensure that he is fully healthy for Davis Cup when it occurs. It makes no sense whatsoever to get ready for Wimbledon or the US Open, since DC ties are the weekend after.

  10. I was wondering how you'd go about saying something to this one. Knowing that again you would say something. Breaking your promise yet again...
    So now for a bit of sarcasm. Okay. And I thought the news would make you happy.

  11. One has to really admire the maintainer of this blog. Her commitment to Nalbandian is undying and unconditional even though Nalbandian is too any "fan" or possible "fan" of his what a philanderer is too his wife.

    It's too bad that Nalbandian doesn't have even one-one-hundredth of Julia's loyalty for him in the direction of his fans or even for his own resume as a tennis player. Mark this down as yet another episode of Disappointme-Nalbandian.

  12. Why would this make me happy? Being right isn't all there is. I like to be right about something positive, like how talented Nalbandian is and how brilliant his level of play can be. For example, I relish in telling arrogant Nadal fans that Nalbandian is more talented from the baseline than Nadal, which I firmly believe and am willing to argue endlessly.

    I love tennis and no player in the modern game produces a better level when clicking than Nalbandian. It is terribly disappointing to me to see that he's pulling out from event after event. Yes, I may derive a small amount of pleasure from seeing my overall assessment of Nalbandian's career management and priorities vindicated because of how I was derided for it in the past, but that is small consolation.

    Now, I'm just going to have to settle for yet another two weeks of hearing Nadal praised as the greatest tennis player to have ever existed. Boring cliche after boring cliche until the inevitable clash with Djokovic (unless Federer gets going, which I hope he does).

  13. I'm a fan of David, I love to watch him play. So I hope I'll get to watch him play. Simple as that.
    At the same time, I'm aware of the fact that I can complain here for as long and as hard and as repetitively as I want - and it still isn't going change a single thing. So I try to make the best of what I get.
    It's true, there are players who care more about their fans. Still, I like his tennis, that's the way it is.

    I just wonder why you still come here, after that grand exit you made, promising to never come back. You're criticising David for being unreliable etc - and yet you're just the same.

  14. That your last comment doesn't get displayed isn't my doing. The same problem we've had here before.

    Anyway, I found it very amusing when you posted again, "anonymously"... And even more so that you still keep it up. Easy to say something. Not so easy to stay true to your word.

  15. Point of my vanished posts: you don't have to worry about regular posting on my part. Sometimes when I'm making the rounds of tennis websites I stop by here to see the latest injury/pullout news which you do a good job of documenting.

    As for keeping my word. I have done so and will continue to do so. It's just hard to resist saying something at times. And, yes, my real identity is Mike. Happy now?

  16. I have some1 else in mind.

  17. "As for keeping my word. I have done so and will continue to do so. It's just hard to resist saying something at times."



  18. isabraq -- totally agree :)

    I can tolerate "anonymous" (aka "Mr. Auckland") in small doses, but, his history shows that he is addicted to being a whiner (and worse) about why Nalbandian is a fool for not being #1 in the world and not beating Nadal week in and week out. Whether he likes it or not, Nadal is now one of the histories greatest players ever.
    I like to give credit to all the guys on the atp circuit since they are all tremendous players -- some better than others of course. I don't have to like their personalities, but I certainly respect their skill and results.

    And I commend Julia for trying to keep the blog from turning into one of the other blogs where people feel free to use any derogatory language they want.
    I commend her for not allowing the blog to turn into "trash talk".

    It's not the disagreements in opinion that bother me, it's the way they're expressed. If civil, no problem. Respectful exchange of opinions are what makes this site special.
    When, that happens, I can get more useful info from the site for myself.

    Thanks Julia for all your great updates on David's status. That story alone is very interesting in itself.

  19. I've been reading about David's recovery saga for a while and trying to stay away and be a little distant. I just don't want to be drawn into the disappointment. I'm trying to keep perspective and not be on an emotional roller coaster.

    I have a little different take on the situation. I was grateful he went through the surgeries and have been hopefull this will unlock the phsyical barriers he's had for years. Of course, I'm relying on David's and his Dr's words, which is dangerous to do. In our history with David, his words are unreliable to say the least. The only thing we can somewhat trust is seeing him on the court and doing well.

    My strongest reaction, though, since the surgery, is that he gave himself too little time for recovery and getting back to the court. I just never believed it was possible in the time frame he and his Drs gave us. So,
    I'm not terribly surprised he is not plalying RG and maybe not Wimbledon.
    I don't know why David and his group come up with the explanations they do, and I'm not going to try and figure it out -- that would drive me nuts.

    But they do seem to cause unrealistic expectations for his fans -- imo.

    It does seem to be me that, given his surgery, he'll be lucky to be in shape for a 5 set match on clay in DC. I'd say this about any player, not just David.

    So, if he at some point starts playing and doing stronger (becuase the surgery should make him stronger than ever; it's removing a problem he has had for years -- if we can believe the Drs), then I'll be happy for that.
    I am waiting for that physical test. Recovery takes time. I want to answer the question: did the surgery really make things better?

    I also think David is paranoid about doing too much and risking injury. That's actually ok in my book. As long as he eventually gets to the point he is confident of playing on the tour regularly.

    The big question, is once that happens, will he be into it mentally? I don't really see any reason not to think so.
    If recovery is holding him up for the moment (imo), then why would he not want to play the grand slams? He's not a 20 year old now, so he does not try to play every tournament on the tour.

  20. Thats all ok Joe,but GS tennis is what tennis is about,thats the big stage,prize,prestige,points,media coverage,Davids been out of that for so long that the casual tennis fan would even suspect hes semi retired.Its been a tough 2 seasons since his comeback from the hip surgery.Except for Washington and Toronto its hasnt really been successful in my opinion.I really hope David can stay healthy and for the time he has left go out with a bang.Well see how he looks when he comes back.The thing that really worries me is that hell will really drop in the rankings unless he goes very deep in Wimbledon or repeats his victory in Washington and the QF of Toronto.I hope the future will bring good news.

  21. Joe, thanks. :) Yeah, I try...

    My thoughts on the points you've raised: The time frame for David's recovery after the double surgery was ambitious but not completely unrealistic. As far as we know, everything went well and it was David's illness that overthrew these plans. According to his doctors, David's movement will be better now than it was before (meaning, after hip surgery). Whether that's true remains to be seen. And I don't have a problem with his decision to skip clay, even if that means missing RG again. But the question is whether he'll also skip grass again, like he did last year. True, he's not 20 anymore but he has never really played every tournament there is. When it comes to DC on the other hand, as a fan you can be sure that as long as he's able to maintain an upright position, David will show up for the next tie. And we can be sure that he'll play the QF in July. But whether that will once again happen at the expense of Wimbledon - we'll see.

    Adrian, yeah, the ranking is something to worry about and of course I'd like to see David at the Slams again - on a regular basis. But when it comes to how successful he's been then I'd look at it the other way around, from my point of view it was amazing what he did at Washington/Toronto. I didn't really expect that he would still be capable of a run like that. Back when David had hip surgery, I read up on other players who had it and what happened with their careers, afterwards. The short version: not much or nothing at all (as in, they had to retire) That shaped my hopes and expectations.

  22. Adrian,

    "GS tennis is what tennis is about,thats the big stage,prize,prestige,points,media coverage,Davids been out of that for so long that the casual tennis fan would even suspect hes semi retired.Its been a tough 2 seasons since his comeback from the hip surgery."

    Yes, GS are what tennis is about, but if
    David is not ready to play them, then
    what can you do?
    As Julia said, it's rare and somewhat incredible he came back and won ATP tour stops after hip surgery.

    Are you suggesting that he could play if he really wanted to? and he is just not interested enough to play GS? Maybe so, but I don't see really evidence yet. I see someone who is DC crazy and who is willing to injure himself to play DC. If he wasn't ready for a GS, it would be the same as the DC --- another injury in a GS.

    In the long run, it's best for all of us to be patient so we can get another 3-4 years out of David. Another major injury and he is out permanently I would think.

  23. Julia,

    I guess the difference in my opinion is I just don't trust hardly anything that's been said from Drs and from David when it comes to his injuries and his progress.

    I'm hopefull thought that he will recover. I feel very confident he will
    recover from the last round of surgeries and probably be better off.
    I really think he will.

    It's just that the time frame he talks about is just that - talk. It's one story after another. At this point, he needs to just show me.

    Oh, also, I'd be worried about playing on the grass if he wasn't ready - same as clay. Grass is slippery and can cause unexpected twists and turns. I think hard courts is the safest thing for him to start off with.

    As far as points, if he's playing well, he's gonna win period. He's proved he can climb the point system like no other if he's playing ok.

    Just my 2 cents.

  24. He did it last year, he could've played Wimbledon but preferred to prepare for the DC QF in Moscow. And back then it worked out, he won both of his matches - that's why I think he might do it again.

    David is not just DC crazy, he's obsessed with it and with wanting to win it. That may be difficult to understand and accept. But at the same time, I think it's also the reason he's still around. And 3-4 more years... well, that's very optimistic.

    You think I trust everything I get to hear about David's recoveries etc? After all the conflicting news I've had to report here over the years? The point is, I can only post what news I get. And either use that as the basis for my thoughts and opinions or say there's nothing to rely on in the first place. And I'm not quite as fatalistic as that, not yet.

  25. I strongly agree with Adrian about GS is what tennis is about. And he is right, some people even think that David retired for good, on my twitter many girls asked me if David retired or not yet, people barely see him nowadays, he made a strong statement in Washington, then again after he beat Soderling,that he is not done yet. Unfortunately, it's not his fault, injuries hamper his chances.
    Its the 3rd years in a row not playing RG, the French love David, and i miss those long matches he used to play in slams with the atmosphere and all, last one being the Hewit match, I swear after that match finished, facebook's tennis pages gone crazy with people all over the world talking about David and the outstanding tennis he plays. It just hurts watching those GSs and Master series with no David, watching C class players playing awful counter punching tennis and winning matches sometimes, when one of the most talented player on earth recovering from injuries at home. Whatever David decides or does, I will support him until the last match of his career, I just hope we still gonna be able to watch those breath taking encounters he used to play, and why not, i hope he achieves his biggest dream winning the DC this year once and for all, if David and Del Potro unite, I don't see a reason not to finally win it this year.
    As of not playing RG, am not mad on that one, it's clay and he barely played clay this year, he would've probably lost in 2nd round or so, but Queens and Wimbledon sounds good, he will step his foot into the grass for 1st time in the year, just like the other players on the ATP, plus its the fastest surface, should be nothing but ideal for a comeback.

  26. Well see what happens in Queens and Wimbledon,maybe he comes back with a bang.

  27. Noubar,watch out for Bosnia and Herzegovina on Eurosong :)

  28. its in semi final 2, so i can see it tomorrow :)

  29. To be honest, (and probably cause some
    discord here :) ); I don't see why he would bother with 2 grass court tournaments - QC and Wimbledon. He's probably not in great form and will lose early. To go all the way over there, not play maany matches on a surface that will not benefit his clay court training -- I mean why bother? And his training routine in general is disrupted being a away for 2-3 weeks or whatever.
    It's not like the first time he's played Wimbledon, so the glamour is gone for him. He'll play if he feels he has a chance of doing decently.

    As far as caring about the idea that others think he has retired -- so what??? Who cares what others think?
    People in Argentina, defintely do not think that he's retired and that's maybe all he cares about if at all. His endorsements probably haven't changed much in the last few years.

    It's one thing for a fan to desire to see his player go out and play often and do well. I myself would like to see him play all the slams. But sports is riddled with complications.

    It irks me to hear that he's "suppose" to play, "just because it's a slam....", and just because fans want this or that.
    I disklike rock stars because they are geared towards being celebrities and being fawned and pleasing their fans.

    I like David because he marches to his own drummer.

    David is who he is and that's it.
    I accept him for having human decisions just like everyone else.

  30. I mean, it's still Wimbledon we're talking about here, cathedral of tennis, mother of all tournaments. And one that David likes, or at least that's what he used to say. Add to that his long and colourful history with it, all the way back to junior days. I accept David's DC obsession but I'd like to think that he still wants to play Slams. And that the horrid first-round loss from 2008 won't stand as his last Wimbledon result forever.
    But apart from all that, and it's been mentioned before, he needs ranking points. He'll desperately need them when August comes around. Can you imagine David wanting to play qualies? I can't.

    Of course we can't influence what he's going to do (though sometimes, I really wish that we could). Being a fan is a one-way "relationship". But that doesn't mean I can't hope. So yeah, I'm with Noubar and Adrian and I'll continue to hope that David will come here to Europe for two tournaments and an exho.

  31. Joe,the beautiful thing about GSs is you never know,Ivanisevic didnt think he had a chance at winning Wimbledon,he came ranked 125,a lot more damaged by injuries,won 3 matches and started to believe,the rest is history.But the first thing you have to do is show up,after that anything is possible especially with a streaky player like David.I mean if you dont have the mindset that your No. 1,and you start to think you dont have a chance to win on the big stage its better to retire because before long youll be losing in the 1 round of 250s.Tennis at the highest level is in my opinion at least 70% mental.Confidence is I think a huge factor,once a player losses that,its a tough road back.

  32. Adrian, Yes, David is the kind of player that can surprise us (tennis results-wise)...but not on a regular basis.

    He came out of nowhere it seemed and won the Wash DC 500 ATP tourney last summer.
    And also his DC cup results last year over Russia -- very surprising. But, that's not the norm.

    I notice there is no mention in the press of David practicing. Usually when he hits the courts there start to be photographs around. I haven't seen any, so I have a sneaking suspicion that something is up. I think if he tried to play Wimbledon, he'd lose first or second round. I don't think that's productive for him. In addition, he's going out of his workout routine (I hope he has one :) ) when he travels for 3 weeks or so. He's still gotta build up stronger, recover those 7 lbs of muscle, etc.

    I hope I'm wrong and he's playing great by now, and decides to play Wimb and get past 2 round. Then, yes, go for it.

    But, I don't think he's there. So, he needs to stick to his knitting and get strong again.

    btw...last year, David did more than just win the DC stop. He got to the finals at Auckland, beat a handful of top 20 guys and climbed into the top 20
    himself. I consider that a very successful 2nd half to 2010. On top of that he was partly injured, never allowed to go 100% as we've recently learned in the last few months.
    He also almost won ATP come-back-player-of-the-year.

    So, talk of him being retired (or him contemplating it) is silly. It's for those that just read just headlines and don't follow tennis much.

    There's a good chance if he plays his cards right, he will have a big winning streak sometime in the future. I will be patiently waiting for that (as opposed to half-baked attempts at a comeback).

  33. Don't worry, he is training at the Vilas Club. He has been seen there, training (by Miche for example). And I have it from an Argentine player that he's going to train with David, tomorrow. :)
    It's just that David likes his privacy, and training pics etc usually get taken when he's training at tournaments or when it's DC week.

    New post coming later today...

  34. Great! Thanks for the update :)