Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An Interview with David

It's still a few days until the start of Tokyo. So here's something to pass the time: an interview with David. From back home in Unquillo (where he still is at the moment - but not for much longer) he talked on the phone to Argentine station AM 630 ESPN Radio. And of course, the biggest topic still is - and will remain to be until December - the Davis Cup. One more thing, from the weekdays he mentions, it can be deduced that the interview was recorded at the end of last week. At least I'd hope so - otherwise he'd be a week late with his departure for Tokyo...
Here's what David had to say:
I'm very happy and I'm doing very well. The tie in Serbia was a very good and positive one in every way. In the life of a tennis player, everything happens very fast. There's no time for a lot of analysis of the matches and things. Luckily, we won and we are in the Davis Cup final. Now let's enjoy that and think about the tie in December.

The team is doing very well. We played a good tie, Serbia was the favourite. On clay we are very strong, compared to the rest of the world. But in sports, anything can happen. We have to try and do the best we can. The Spanish team is better than we are on this kind of surface but we mustn't lose hope.
Confronted with an opponent as strong as Spain, the Argentine team will have to plan its moves very carefully, something that David already mentioned in the previous interview. In the past, and under other captains, it wasn't always so very clear who made those plans and decisions. But apparently, that's different now:
The ideal is to win three points. How we have to form the team to be able to do that, I don't know... Tito always nominates those he thinks have been playing well or are playing well. As far as I'm concerned, he never consulted me. That's the job of the captain. I don't know what his plans will be for the tie in December. We have to find the best solution for all five rubbers. Our doubles, whoever is going to play, will be better than they can be indoors. The doubles is a key rubber and our aim has got to be to win it.
Right now, it looks like the final will be held either in Valencia or in Sevilla and if it's Valencia then it will be played indoors (though not at the tournament venue).
[Update (29/09) Whether it's going to be Valencia or Sevilla will be announced on October 7.]
But who can win the doubles against Spain's Lopez and Verdasco? In the Argentine media, some have called for the formation of a special doubles pair - David playing with Del Potro...
I've played doubles with Juan Martin one single time in the US [Indian Wells 2009]. I think we played well. Apart from some training we haven't played together more than that. It would be ideal for Argentina to have a fixed doubles and that the singles players get to rest on Saturday. Playing on all three days is extremely tough, it's grueling. I did that many years and I paid the price for it. I'm no longer 23. We have to wait until December, see who's in the best form by then and we need to have a fixed doubles so that we can be competitive wherever we play.
It sounds like David has indeed said goodbye to the idea of playing on all three days, that he has realised that this is the kind of strain his body can no longer put up with.
And while previously, David didn't seem to be aware that Del Potro still has a good chance to qualify for the World Tour Final, he knows by now.
I hope that Juan Martin can qualify for the Masters [World Tour Final] and that he can play his best.
Back in 2008, Del Potro's decision to play the Masters Cup in Shanghai (despite not being fully fit) was the cause of much turmoil - let's put it this way. This time, however, David seems determined not to dwell on it (or on the past in general) but to look ahead.
I haven't played much on clay but Juan Martin is a bit faster [at adapting to playing on it]. It's a tough tie. On paper, they've always been a little better [than us]. Now you have to go there, to fight and do your best.

You try to always learn. With bad results there's a lot more to analyse and the victories cover things up. The team is doing very well, that's the way foward. Argentina has a very strong team and we have to make the most out of that.
Meanwhile, and maybe you've heard about it, several players (including Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray) have voiced complaints about the calendar, called for the players to form their own union and also mentioned the possibility of going on strike. I'm not sure if David is aware of these developments but he agrees that life as a tennis player is tough - though he comes to a different conclusion.
Being a tennis player is not easy. You get only very few days off. I arrived here [in Unquillo] after the Davis Cup on Tuesday [last week] and Thursday next week [i.e. tomorrow] I'm going to travel to Asia for the tournaments there. You get to spend very few days at your home and don't have time for a lot of things. It's not easy but it's all for a good and beautiful cause and that's what this sport is. That's why you have to deal with these things the best way you can.
And there are still several tournaments to think of, ahead of the Davis Cup final in December. But how many exactly? I've been able to map out most of David's schedule for the rest of the season (confirmed now by the official site, which has, believe it or not, been updated). Here's what David has to say about his plans:
I'm going to Asia where I'll play two tournaments. After that I'm going to play the indoor events and I'm thinking about returning [to Argentina] in the first week of November to train on clay. I don't know how the weather is in Spain at that time. The best would be to try and have some good training sessions there. It also depends a lot on when I'm going to finish the indoor swing and how much I can train here, in Buenos Aires.
Now, returning to Argentina in early November would mean not playing the Masters event in Paris. The entry list for it came out last night and his name is on it but as an alternate. That he doesn't seem to be sure when the indoor swing will end for him could mean that he doesn't know yet whether or not he'll get a wildcard. And that, if he doesn't get one, he might skip the Paris Masters to train on clay instead.
Apart from the Davis Cup, I'm having a very good year to build on and to analyse how I'm going to finish it. Little by little I'm getting better and better. I'm feeling good and comfortable and without injuries, which is what affected me the last time.
That's one way of putting it. Back in 2008, directly before the final at Mar del Plata, David's hip injury got so bad that the advice from his doctors was to have surgery. This time, hopefully, he'll get to play without injury troubles. As it could be his last chance to win the title that he wants more than anything else - or maybe not?
I don't think that it's going to be my last chance to win the Davis Cup. I still have one or two years left of my career. Next year we're going to have plenty of chances because we'll have many home ties. It's a very good schedule. 2013 could also be a year with a good Davis Cup schedule.
- And it could be another good year for David.

23 comments:

  1. If he does well in any of these upcoming tournaments he could get into Paris directly,whats the usual cut off,mid 40s?

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  2. Relevant for making the main draw is the ranking at the time the entry list closes and gets published. In the case of Paris that means this week. So David's only chance to get into the main draw is either getting a WC or playing qualies.
    And that's why when he says he might go back to train in Argentina in early November I guess it depends on whether he'll get a WC.

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  3. thank you for the itw, Julia :)
    As a former Bercy champion I hope he'll get a wild-card, but there are so many young French players they want to grant invitations...

    "I still have one or two years left of my career." >> I don't even want to think about the day he decides to retire...

    Can't wait to see the Tokyo draw!

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  4. Right now, he wouldn't even make the qualifying draw...
    But I'm still hoping for a WC.

    One or two more years is realistic, I think. Well, when he retires it's going to mean a big change for him - but also for me...

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  5. Also for me :)
    I won't have a favorite player like him any more I think.

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  6. That's what I thought when Boris Becker retired. Never say never. ;)

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  7. Good post. Certainly more than something to pass the time with. "I still have one or two years left of my career." So glad to hear that. I think it's a reflection of David's general good health. Hope he has some good results on the Asian swing. I don't even want to think about finding a new favorite player.

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  8. Yeah, one or two years - I mean, we were down to less than that before. But he really sounds quite happy and optimistic in this interview.

    Anyway, though it's possible to find a new favourite player (but not easy, in my case it took six years) one thing I do know - I'm not going to keep another blog after VD.

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  9. In 2006 I had 2 big wishes as a sports fan, one was that Zidane wins the world cup in his last match of his career with French and that David wins a Grand Slam. He was number 3 in the world and I had big hopes in FO. When he was leading with 6:3 3:0 against Federer I was still very nervous and had bad feeling because I knew that in every moment it can happen that he loses his rhythm, especially I was worried about his service and I had the memory of his defeat in Rom in the same year where he was leading in all sets but lost in 3 in the tiebreak in last set and after coming back from 2:4 in that set (during that time I could only follow on live scores :) ). Since Masters Cup 2006 until the FO semi against Fed I hadn't watched a match from David because Eurosport didn't show ATP often any more and couldn't wait to watch the new strong David, I watched him then finally in FO Semi for the first time but then I got to know thet he was also in 2003 until 2004 AO similar strong.
    Also France was leading in the final against Italia with 1:0 but both my favorite players began to lose unlucky and left the court earlier then it should be.
    The first time I saw David was in a match against a brazil I think (FO quarterfinal?) but I remember also when I watched Agassi for the first time he was playing against David and won the match I think (AO ?) so I don't know exactly when and where were botch matches, you maybe?

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  10. I guess you mean David's RG QF match against Guga Kuerten, 2004. Agassi and David only met on the Tour once, at the TMC in Houston, 2003.

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  11. But yeah, World Cup 2006... Those were great times here in Germany. The city was full of people from all over the world. I met a couple of Argentines at a club - luckily enough, that was before the quarterfinal... ;)

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  12. I know about the HMC match from youtube but can't remember if I have watched it live on Eurosport.
    ... oh moment, I just came to mind that it was probably Safin, not David playing against Agassi in AO 2004. I was not interested so much in tennis in the first months. But now it's my number one sport if you have at least one good favorite player.

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  13. We gotta find some new gun to support,same crew haha.Maybe Davids son one day? haha.

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  14. In twenty years or more... lol

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  15. ashot,there was a difference: david lost respecting rules, zidane expelled by crushing his head against Materazzi ;)

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  16. After Materazzi did his best to make him lose his temper... ;)
    - I'm just trying to imagine Federer taunting and provoking David in the RG SF... No, doesn't work. lol

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  17. Materazzi and that whole Italy 2006 team were amazing.Cannavaro,Del Piero,Totti...uff I was so happy when they won.

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  18. 2006 was the first time I wanted Germany to win... So I was disappointed after that semi but I still supported Italy in the final.

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  19. julia it doesn't work your point of view. Honesty doesn't depend from your opponent's behaviour and provocation is part of the game(football).
    PS according to official site on facebook he will play St Petesburg ???

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  20. I'm not saying that Zidane did the right thing. He should've kept his cool but he must've been under enormous pressure in that match. In any case, what Materazzi did there wasn't great, either...

    As for St. Petersburg, that's complete news to me. The FB page says he'll play, the official site says he won't and he's not on the entry list. Apart from that, playing there would mean no pause from Tokyo through to Valencia. And I can't imagine he'll plan a schedule like that.

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  21. Materazzi said some bad words to ZZ and made him lose his temper. both were wrong.
    Ya i dont see him playing St. P as well, but usually his facebook is much more updated than his official site that i still think David has nothing to do with lol

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  22. the draw is now on the official site....

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  23. Yep, I've just seen it!
    http://www.atpworldtour.com/posting/2011/329/mds.pdf

    Draw looks pretty good to me, chance to win a couple of rounds and get some ranking points. He might have to play against Monaco though in the 2nd round (or either Dodig).

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