Monday, April 2, 2012

The Week ahead in Davis Cup

It's been a busy day for the Argentine team. Well, except for Pico, who was given the day off. But the rest of the team was busy, training at the Parque Roca and on an additional outside court. There, David had his first session of the day together with Edu Schwank (while Delpo trained at the stadium with Diego Schwartzman, the junior player functioning as hitting partner). David's second session of the day took place on the main court, and apparently he played a test match against Schwartzman, while Schwank trained with Zabaleta and Delpo got the afternoon off (source). And there was, of course, also some football-tennis (see Photo Page).
Edit: A brief clip from David's first session here.

First of all, a look at the rankings after Miami. With 905 points now (including 25 for the second round at Miami), David remains at #50 this week, still thirteen places behind Carlos Berlocq, the fourth-highest-ranked Argentine player. I'll be taking a closer look at the rankings, and the results David will need to get past Berlocq and qualify for the Olympics, in time for the European clay-court swing, after the Davis Cup quarterfinal.

Speaking of which - the Davis Cup week has now officially begun. Yesterday, the complete team, including Juan Monaco, got together for the first time at the team's hotel in Buenos Aires (source). And from today on, the Argentine and the Croatian players will take turns, training at the Parque Roca, with each team getting two sessions per day.
From yesterday's training there are apparently no photos but today and in the days until the tie I expect there to be more photos and probably also videos, from the AAT and other sources.

Apart from that, between the two practice sessions tomorrow, it'll be time for the traditional Tuesday press conference (at noon, local time). Before on Thursday morning (10.30am local) the draw ceremony will take place. For the tie itself, the starting times are as follows:

Friday: 10.30am local
Saturday: 12pm local
Sunday: 10.30am local

Edit: Ahead of Argentina's first home tie in almost a year and his debut at the Parque Roca as captain, Martin Jaite talks about all that goes with the upcoming quarterfinal tie, from the public's expectations to the old question of David and Delpo.
Here's the interview he gave Marcelo Andreotto (for La Gaceta).
Q: Is the fact that Argentina still hasn't managed to win the Davis Cup an additional burden for the players?

Jaite: The burden is something that comes more from the outside than from the players, themselves. That has to do with the final of Mar del Plata, which was lost even though everything was set for winning it.

Q: In the last couple of years, tennis has undergone a kind of "footballisation" in Argentina, particularly when it comes to the Davis Cup. Some compare Federer, not having won the Davis Cup with Messi and his "debt" [to perform as well as he does for his club] on Argentina's national team. Do you regard that as a positive phenomenon or as something that's counterproductive for tennis?

Jaite: If I take a taxi or I'm at the newsstand and people talk to me about how well Del Potro has been playing or they ask me if I saw Nalbandian's last match then that's something positive. It's great for us, who are part of the tennis world and it also is, specifically, for Davis Cup. It's good if it fills the stadium because that makes the players feel great. What we have to take care of as coaches is that this euphoria gets conveyed to the players in a positive way and not as something negative, and that it doesn't create an obligation for the team or makes them feel under pressure to win because of what people think.

Q: The fans look at the draw and think they're already in the final in November. Are you worried that this triumphalism could be transferred to the court and hurt the team?

Jaite: I don't think that there's triumphalism among our players because we understand how difficult it is to win each and every point in Davis Cup. That's why we say that we take it match by match. Fortunately, we won in Germany and now we're focusing on Croatia. We can't think about hypothetical matters. Luckily, we understand tennis a little better than that. The public, in general, is more passionate. The players can't afford to be passionate in that moment, they have to be rational. Apart from that, the players are the ones who know their opponents best. It's not like Mariano [Zabaleta] or I have to watch videos to see how the Croats play. The players meet them on the Tour. That makes them more wary, it makes them respect their opponents and keeps them from being overconfident.

Q: Many Davis Cup captains would like to be on your place, with two players of the caliber of Del Potro and Nalbandian. It's known that they're not friends and that they've had some differences in the past. Against Croatia, it's the first time that both of them will be at your disposal. Have you scheduled a talk with the two of them to clarify certain things?

Jaite: I don't have plans for a specific talk with them. In Germany, we had many talks with the players, among the team as well as individually, and we'll continue to have those. But this is not something I'm worried about. It's not necessary for the players to be friends. They only need to respect each other and share the same goal. We're not planning to have a "little birthday party". We're simply going to get along for one week and have talks, just like we did in Germany.


  1. Davis Cup frenzy has begun :D
    Now that Jaite confirmed DelPo and David to play singles on Day 1, there won't be much suspense for the draw on Argentina's side, I can't wait to see who the Croatian team will choose :)

  2. Cilic and Karlovic for singles but yeah, the question remains to be who's going to play the doubles.
    Maybe Adrian can tell us what the Croatian press has to say about that. :)

    But it'll also be interesting to see what happens in Prague, with the Czech Republic facing Serbia (without Nole). The winner of that tie will meet the winner of this one in SF.

  3. thanks for the additional interview of Jaite :)
    Serbia without Nole or Czech Republic sounds interesting and undecided.

  4. Not that much talk about the lineups yet, just Krajan saying that Croatia has a chance and the now already cliche line "Nalbandians ranking doesnt reflect how good he really is" haha.

  5. Ah, the old classic. But well, Krajan is right... ;)

  6. croatia has no chance, both cilic and karlovic are weak on clay, they will get thrashed.

  7. Lool when Nalby has a fully fit free season, then it'll probably reflect how good he's playing. It's just he's had so many injuries and because the rankings refresh every year, he misses out loads. The nalby-delpo saga is soo long loool

  8. While I expect Argentina to win, I wouldn't say Croatia has no chance. About this time two years ago Cilic was one of the hottest up-and-comers on the tour. He had a growing fan base known as the Red Hot Cilic Peppers, but they kind of petered out when Marin's game went south. The guy can still play, though, if he's healthy. And Karlovic can wreak havoc with his serve. Most of the time he forces Federer and Nadal to tiebreakers. And as far as playing on clay, well, several years ago he hit 78 aces against Stepanek in a Davis Cup match. Strange things happens sometimes in Davis Cup and so nothing is for sure. I'm glad Dodig isn't playing and that the tie is in Buenos Aires. I don't want any jinxes, Anonymous.

    1. Yep, strange things definitely happen in DC... Just take the USA beating Switzerland (with Federer) on clay in the first round, this year. :)

  9. How many ranking points would Nalby get if he wins his singles match?

    I am rather worried if he will be seeded for Roland Garros (I dont want to see him playing the top 4 in the first round!!!) rather than the Olympics. He has to either win in Belgrade or reach the QFs of both Rome and Madrid before having a chance to be seeded...