"Throughout the match I wasn't able to take the initiative the way I would've liked to."A statement from David that sums up his performance yesterday and also what went wrong during this match that ended with Adrian Ungur prevailing 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5, sealing David's first ever first-round exit at Roland Garros. The vast majority of those three hours the match took, David spent trapped a few metres behind the baseline, chasing down Ungur's shots or rushing forward, trying to counter his drop-shots. Reacting to his opponent rather than acting, himself. Never really finding a way of executing his own game and growing increasingly frustrated in the process.
You always, until the very last moment, think about what you can do to come back, what to change. Today, it didn't work out.
|(Jacques Demarthon/AFP/Getty Images)|
During the second set, David was still playing too passively but at least managed to hold serve more easily than before. They stayed on serve until at 6-5 for David, Ungur, serving to stay in the set, went down 0-40, granting David his first break points of the match. Eventually, he took the fifth he got in this game and with it the second set, 7-5.
|(Bernat Armangue/AP Photo)|
During the fourth set, David visibly tried to play more aggressively and get closer to the baseline. At 2-1, he had two chances to break but once again didn't make it (he ended up converting only one of the eleven break points he had in this match). With David playing a bit better now, especially during his own service games, they remained on serve until at 5-5, David handed Ungur a break point with a drop-shot into the net and then committed his eighth double fault of the match. With Ungur serving for the match afterwards, David had one last break point. But Ungur responded with an ace and then finished off what was a very good match from him by converting his second match point.
Sometimes, David plays matches where it doesn't necessarily look like he really cares about what comes out of it in the end. Matches, where he seems disinterested. But this was not one of them. David was obviously frustrated, smashed his racquet several times and kept berating himself for the "shit" (quote) he was playing. Still, he fought, even deep behind the baseline, and actually, he was moving as well as I've seen him move on clay since hip surgery. More often than not, his movement is the main cause for concern and usually also the reason if he makes too many unforced errors. But many of those 37 unforced errors he made in this match, often at crucial moments, seemed to be more the result of, quite simply, helplessness. Most of the time, David was unable to put Ungur under pressure with his shots, so he ended up taking more and more risks - and also often going for the wrong shot.
Obviously, I didn't play a good match today and I also didn't feel really good. I have ups and downs, I come and go during matches. I can't find a precise explanation, it's rather complicated. I also haven't won that many matches this year, so I don't have confidence. That's what's been happening. Year after year it gets more difficult for me, new players arrive on the scene all the time, the pace gets higher and that costs you.The last two seasons were most of all a struggle with constant injuries, pauses and comebacks. And yet, in-between all of that David managed to play some great tennis. Occasionally even while being injured, like with his victory over Ungur in Davis Cup last year. This season, there have been no injuries and pauses but two semifinals and two quarterfinals for David, with his run at Indian Wells as the highlight, so far. But still, it seems that his results don't really match the expectations he probably had for an injury-free season.
After three surgeries it's very difficult to regain the high level that I had at some points [during my career]. And that's natural, that's what happens to everybody. It's a process I have to deal with but I'm in the middle of the season, there's still a lot of events to play. I have to keep moving forward and see what happens.Now, if David talks about looking ahead at what's still to come this season, it's clear of course what he's really talking about:
It's still ages until Davis Cup, it's May now. I need to keep on working in order to be in the best possible shape by September.
(David's quotes from the clip above, this clip, La Nacion & Infobae.com)