Saturday, December 17, 2011

Injury Update & A New Captain for Argentina

At the press conference on Thursday, following his victory over Ferrero, one of the first questions David got asked was about his knee and the nature of his problems with it. His reply was that he just began with his preparations for the next season and that, unfortunately, his right knee was causing him some trouble, due to "an inflammation, tendinitis". At that point he still thought he'd probably be able to continue playing the Copa Argentina. Yesterday, however, it became clear that this wouldn't be the case. In the words of the press release, issued by the organisers:
David Nalbandian has informed the organisers of the Copa Peugeot Argentina de Tenis that he won't be able to continue participating in the event. After several consultations with his doctors, before and after his first match, and following the advice from his team he has decided to withdraw, due to tendinitis and an accumulation of fluid in his right knee.
Apparently, it's not quite as bad as it sounds. David will now rest for a week and then continue his preparations as planned. For the new season that, according to La Nacion, he'll begin by playing the Australian Open and then the Davis Cup first-round tie against Germany (source).
- Still, an unfortunate and yet sadly appropriate ending for another difficult, injury-riddled season. I'll take a closer look at it (and also at the prospects for next year) in my year-end review post.

But yesterday was also a day of good news for David as the AAT officially announced that after three years with Tito Vázquez Argentina has a new Davis Cup captain - David's former coach Martin Jaite. The latest chapter in a story that began three years ago at Mar del Plata. Back then, Alberto "Luli" Mancini was Argentina's captain but it was no secret that David played a more than dominant role on the team. After Mar del Plata, Mancini resigned and David campaigned for Martin Jaite to become his successor. But the AAT didn't want another captain with very close ties to the players, nor did they want David to keep his prominent position on the team. So they appointed their own man, Tito Vázquez.

(La Razon)
A decision that didn't go down so well with David, to say the least. And the beginning of a very difficult work relationship that included a series of disputes and media commotions. The final instalment of which came earlier this week when Vázquez appeared on Argentine TV to talk about his time as captain - and about David. Especially his statement "I don't see him as a positive leader" made headlines, also beyond the Argentine media. A line that sums up Vázquez' criticism of David and his dominant approach to being part of the team.
David's response: "He's entitled to his opinion just like everybody else. I think that I did things the best way I could." (Source.)

(El Día)
But now, the Argentine team has a new captain. Martin Jaite, former Top10 player, tournament director of the Copa Claro and David's ex-coach. Jaite has never made a secret of his ambitions to become Davis Cup captain and after his appointment he called it a dream that has come true for him (and perhaps not only for him). Though he also recognised Vázquez' achievements.
After three stormy years, this is hopefully the start of a new era.
With captain Martin Jaite and his vice-captain Mariano Zabaleta.


  1. directly australian open losing another 15 places in the ranking?

  2. Jaite/Zabaleta sound like a very interesting pair for DC 2012 campaign.

    Jaite should've been named captain like.. 3 years ago... but anyway, we could see that despite a "stormy" relationship with Vasquez, David has always been dedicated to DC, more than ever.

    oh, I thought David would play Sydney or Brisbane before AusOpen...

    thanks Julia, can't wait to read the year-end review ;)

  3. I hope he is not going to skip the australian swing for the first round of Davis cup!

  4. if he skips the australian open for davis cup its a joke and an insult to his career

  5. His name is on the entry list for the AO.

    But not defending his Auckland points will send him down further in the rankings, yes.

  6. Only David knows why he doesn't want to play a tournament before AO. Going there without match praxis? That can work or not. But it is maybe so better than playing Auckland before it

  7. Is it possible that he plays a exhibition before the AO?

  8. doesn't his playing or not playing a tournament depend on his injury status?
    I think he does want to play if he is able to.

    what's going on with his knee is the question i have at the moment. Is it serious or not? Fluid in the knee is nothing to trivialize, I would think.

    We probably won't know much because that's how David operates. So, his name is on the draw just in case he can show up.
    Business as usual.

  9. I think he will show up. Could be his last AO, who knows.
    And it's still a month until then. So I think his knee will be okay and he'll have enough time to get ready (and no, he won't play any exhos).
    It's just further proof that his body doesn't really hold up to professional tennis anymore. Even if he's not playing that much.

  10. Hi Julia,
    I agree, his body does not hold up well to prof tennis. i interpret lack of play as a symptom of this. further lack of play also makes it worse -- I think one needs constant matches to toughen up the body. And, you're right, the rest doesn't seem to help him a whole lot either.

    I don't like to conjecture to much with David since there is so little info on his health status....and I hope he surprises us all and has a great AO. But, I'm not putting any bets on that.

    I'd predict that he'll be a great doubles point for future DC. That's about all I expect. And the occasional great match (maybe upset) or two in 2011.
    We'll see.

  11. Hi all,
    Not sure if those outside the US get
    "The Tennis Channel", but they are ending the year with the top 30 best matches of 2011.
    Everyday is a countdown to #1 and they're down to around 15.
    So, far David has been in at least one featured match -- the finals of Auckland.
    It was great to see that again though David lost. When I saw the match initially, I could only see on my PC.
    Now I can see on great quality HDTV.
    Even though he lost, you could see the power and skill in his shots.
    Amazing if and when he can put it all together( which I know hasn't happened since how knows when by now).

    Anyway, I have a feeling that maybe one of the top 10 or so will be David's match with Hewitt at the AO.
    I'm hoping that's the case.


  12. Hi joe.
    Yeah, so far David's AO match against Hewitt has made pretty much every Best-of-2011 list I've seen.

    Anyway, I think David would love to toughen up his body by playing a lot more matches. But his body doesn't allow him to do that. And I'm glad that he doesn't play through his injuries anymore, the way he did with his hip.

    David has played some great DC doubles before (including the longest doubles match in the history of tennis). But whether he plays singles or doubles is always going to depend on a variety of factors.

  13. Oh and the last time he was able to put it all together wasn't that long ago - at Stockholm, against Dodig. ;)

  14. Lol, yeah that's true against Dodig -- he smoked him -- felt bad for Dodig... I think it was almost like a double bagel? Then, he pulled hamstring after.

    I'm hoping we can see that level of tennis against a top ten guy in 2012 --
    just one or two more matches and I'll be happy :)
    Keeping my expectations simple :)

    cheers again!

    ps...I do agree and think that David is still "hungry" to play well --- just maybe can't do it anymore.

  15. I think the career as a contender is over.I cant believe Im saying this but I probably wouldnt even be so disappointed if he didnt play the AO.I think the only real goal is the DC.Its crazy how many injuries hes had,he still could tho maybe get a WC for some pre AO tourney so all we can do is wait and see.About how motivated David is,I dont think he is that much,I mean DC is something else but I kind off feel he doesnt care that much about tour results anymore.

  16. Not having great results isn't the same as not caring about them. And I don't think that any of this, the many injuries, the pauses and hardly ever being able to play the way he wants to, can be easy for him.
    I mean, it has been a continuing development since hip surgery. And I can only say it again - it was clear that it would change the course of his career. It does for every player who has to undergo that kind of operation.

  17. I must say that when I saw David's 2012 schedule, or lack of one, I too questioned his motivation. Going to Melbourne without playing a warmup event would appear to be shear lunacy. I sometimes think because he's an elite player, or was, he feels an obligation to play the big events. Even without sufficient preparation. With David, though, we never know what he's thinking or what his plan might be. But no question, like you say, Julia, the hip surgery has caused a big change in the course of his career. None of us can really comprehend what that has done to his mindset. Not being able to play the way he'd like to. The exasperating part for all his fans, however, is that he's so secretive about what he's up to. I do think 2012 is going to be mostly about the Davis Cup, though. Still, he's got to play enough events to be super competitive. Always a quandary with Senor Nalbandian.

  18. What the hip surgery has changed is his physical state in general. Everything else is a consequence of that. He'd surely love to play more and play better but as I've said before - his body won't allow it. And I think that's very difficult to accept, not just for his fans.
    Keeping in mind that this might well be his last season - why wouldn't he want another, maybe last chance to play the AO? Even if the expectations have to be different ones by now.

    But David does have a schedule for the next season. The DC first-round tie takes place directly after the AO next year. And directly after that, he's scheduled to play in South America. More about it in my review post - soon to come.

  19. Okay, there's a week between the end of the AO and then Bamberg but from Germany, he'll be heading on directly to Sao Paolo, if the tournament site is to be believed.

  20. I dont think so he should play before the ausi opea because it only would make him tired for the big event!the davis cup and the mid season tournamentes are more important for david. i do think he wantes to be ready for RG,davis cup wimbledon and the olympic games

  21. I dont think David was always super focused on tennis during his professional career.But if thats the way he wanted his life to go on,Im ok with it and hope he wont look back and feel like he should have done more.If he was he would have left a bigger legacy during his prime years 2003-2008.When it comes to motivation,of course when he walks on the court he wants to win but I feel that hes just not 110% into it.

  22. I'd be very happy if his mindset was the problem...
    He still plays, he still comes back time and time again. He finishes matches even if he's injured and not only in DC. I don't see any reason to doubt his commitment.