Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Look ahead at the Tournaments in Asia

Almost exactly one year ago I wrote a preview post about David going to Asia to play Tokyo and the Shanghai Masters. But you won't find it anywhere here on VD - I had to replace it with a post about David, pulling out of these events. At first, it seemed like he simply couldn't be bothered to undertake the trip to Asia. Then, in a later interview, David confessed that he felt completely exhausted after the US hardcourt swing (and probably also very much frustrated after the lost Davis Cup semifinal against France).
This year the situation is a very different one. David played only 7 matches at the US hardcourt events (compared to 16, last season). And then there's of course the Davis Cup final, which is not only the reason that arrived back home, David immediately took up training in double shifts again to prepare for the rest of the season (source). It also means that every match he gets to play from now on is important as preparation for the final in December.
And here's where those preparations will begin:

Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships 500, Tokyo (October 3-9)
(Getty Images)

Seven years have gone by since David's last (and also only) appearance at this tournament. And it was a fairly brief one, he went out in the second round against Gilles Muller. Back then, in the autumn of 2004, David's first ever trip to Asia saw him playing Beijing and Tokyo (held during different weeks at the time). It was the only occasion in his career where he played two events in Asia between the US Open and the indoor swing, pulling out of Tokyo the following year and then from 2006 on skipping the Asian events altogether. - Until now.
That Tokyo is a 500 event has its advantages for David, as the so-called "Commitment Player Entry Exception" has granted him direct acceptance into the main draw. But for us, there are also the typical disadvantages that you get with a tournament of this category. In other words, once again there will be no coverage during the early rounds.
The draw will take place a week from now, on Saturday, October 1.
Top on the entry list: Nadal, Murray, Ferrer, Fish and Troicki.

Shanghai Rolex Masters 1000, Shanghai (October 9-16)
(Getty Images)

At Shanghai's Qi Zhong Stadium, pictured here with its retractable roof open wide, David played the most memorable match of his career, the one he's still the most proud of. Back in 2005, it was here that he beat Roger Federer in the Masters Cup final (fifth-set highlights here). So for David, playing the Shanghai Masters means returning to the scene of his biggest triumph - and yet, at the same time it's also going to be a premiere, as he has never played this particular event before. But his past appearances at the Masters Cup (2005 and 2006) have apparently not been forgotten as David will receive a wildcard for this tournament. At least, that's what I've been hearing, though this hasn't been officially confirmed yet. (Without a wildcard, he would have to play qualies.)
As it's a Masters event, everybody is going to be there. Theoretically at least. Federer and Söderling have already withdrawn, others (for example Djokovic) could follow.

P.S. When he's in Shanghai, perhaps David will finally get to see his terracotta warrior.
Though whether he'll be able to recognise himself - I'm not so sure...


  1. The warrior looks absolutely nothing like him haha.

  2. only the eyed but not the body :)

  3. I think after his Davis Cup match we can expect positive results in upcoming tournaments but that he is unseeded can be a problem. At least I wish that he doesn't get a top player in the first round, in second or third round he can already be in good form.

  4. The "warrior" sets me into a fit of laughter every time. It resembles someone I can't quite place...but that person is definitely not David! lol

  5. Yeah, it's always good for a laugh. That's why I simply had to include it again. ;)

  6. Tokyo had coverage last year for a couple of second round matches, I hope they will do that again

  7. I forgot that Tokyo only has a 32-player field. So yeah, you're right, 2 matches from the second round will be streamed. Though unless David gets to face Rafa or Murray in R2 I guess it's not going to be David's match that will be shown.