A week from today, the opening ceremony for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games will be held at the new Olympic Stadium in London (seen here in the background). And during the so-called Parade of Nations, Argentina will be the 9th of the more than 200 nations to enter the stadium. Or rather, the Argentine athletes will, led by flag bearer Luciana Aymar (a field hockey player). Including Delpo, Pico, Charly Berlocq, Edu Schwank and of course - David.
For David, these will be the second Olympic Games he gets to take part in. Back in 2004, he pulled out of the Athens Olympics at the very last minute. Four years later, he was again in doubt for Beijing 2008 but eventually took part, reaching the third round in singles (where he lost to Monfils) and losing in the first round of the doubles that he played together with Guillermo Cañas (to the Belgian pair Darcis/Rochus). But although he didn't get to spend that much time on court, he had a pretty good time off court (how good exactly you can see in this little clip).
Q: What are your memories of previous Olympic Games?Having spent the last few weeks training on hardcourt (as there are no grass courts to be found in the vicinity of Unquillo), David, who's currently in Buenos Aires, will be on his way to London next Tuesday.
David: Though I didn't get there in my best physical shape the memories I have of the Beijing Olympics are excellent. I won two matches and had the wonderful experience of staying at the Olympic Village, together with thousands of other athletes. That's something I have good memories of, even if I didn't manage to win a medal.
Q: A lot is going to depend on what shape you're going to be in and also on the draw but looking at it now, what is your goal for London 2012? Is it good for you that the tennis competition will take place on grass?
David: My goal obviously is to win a medal for my country. I want to enjoy the Olympics with the same mentality as always - winning. As for the surface, it's true that I feel comfortable, playing on grass and I'll try to use that.
Playing the Olympics also means representing your country. Something David is famous, if not to say legendary for in Argentina, though mainly because of a certain other competition.
Q: Tennis is an individual sport but in your case, there's an admirable commitment - what does Argentina mean to you?I've said it in my review post, during this year's quarterfinal I didn't think that David seemed unbeatable, the way he usually does in Davis Cup. And not just because he ended up losing.
David: It's the country where I was born, where I grew up and where I took my first steps as a tennis player. I'm a great admirer and lover of my country. So every chance I get to play Davis Cup or represent it otherwise is very important for me.
Q: In sports, we often talk about "mystic qualities". When you're playing for Argentina you seem unbeatable. What do you think is the reason for this change that can be observed with you in those matches?
David: I think what you get to see is my great motivation in those matches. In every single tie you see my desire to win the Davis Cup and how proud it would make me to win it for the country for the first time. In each Davis Cup match I feel the weight of representing Argentina on my shoulders and that's an enormous boost.
Q: Is it normal for the Davis Cup to be a player's priority? Is it for you?
David: I don't think it's common as tennis basically is an individual sport. But at some point in their career, everyone should think about playing for their country. The obvious difference is that for me, playing Davis Cup is the priority.
We've already had a longer interview and my extensive review about David's season so far. Here's a short version in form of three questions and answers:
Q: The first half of the season just ended. What's your analysis of the first part of 2012?
David: I began the season with a couple of good results and others that were not so good. I've managed to get in good physical shape again, something that's very important at this stage of my career and with the team we've had a good start in the first two Davis Cup ties against Germany and Croatia.
Q: In what way do you feel you're close to the Top3 and in what way you think you're far away from them?
David: It's difficult to think about the Top3 these days, because of my age and most of all because of the surgeries I've had. Apart from that, there are players today who are playing at an extremely high level and it gets more and more difficult to deal with them.
Q: What are your goals for the rest of the year?
David: Knowing that I've qualified for the Olympics I'm very much looking forward to the experience of staying at the Olympic Village again. And then in September, we'll play the Davis Cup semifinal against the Czech Republic. There are still good things ahead in this second half of the season, I'll be motivated.
this additional, backdated post.
In it, David talks about Rafa Nadal's withdrawal, about what's ahead in the second half of the season, the Olympics, and possible ways of spending his time after retiring.
Coming next Monday: Everything about tennis at the London Olympics.