Monday, September 17, 2012

Davis Cup Drama - A Look Back at the Lost Semifinal

(Minutouno)
On the day after the lost Davis Cup semifinal, let's start with the clear facts. With David's 65 ranking points from last year's semifinal in Belgrade gone now, he loses another five places and is now ranked #54.
But that he's losing ground in the rankings (and will continue to, in the coming weeks) is probably not what's on his mind right now.

Also without David taking to the court, it was supposed to be another triumphant weekend at the Parque Roca. The stadium where the Argentine team, cheered on by its famously vociferous fans, had so far always emerged victorious. This time, however, the weekend at the Parque Roca ended with a defeat. And with the realisation that the major factor in Argentine Davis Cup tennis was, is, and perhaps always will be - drama.

(AP Photo)
Before I turn to the latest instalment of Davis Cup drama, it's worth taking a look at the team Argentina lost to. For years now, Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek have constituted the Czech two-man team. They play every tie, and they play on all three days whenever they need to. While the other players, Lukas Rosol and Ivo Minar in this case, attend the draw ceremony, support Berdych and Stepanek during their matches and play the dead rubbers. Jaroslav Navratil used to be Berdych's coach for many years before he became captain. - And yet, about none of these things any kind of fuss is made. And neither Berdych nor Stepanek talk about how much they do for the team or for their country.

On the Argentine team, however, the drama once more began already during the week before the tie. While the rest of the team prepared for the semifinal together, appeared on team photos and at a press conference of the new team sponsor, Delpo was training at a club in Buenos Aires. On Wednesday, two days ahead of the tie, he joined the others. And he gave several interviews, saying that he'd play "for the people". Wednesday was also the day of the official dinner that Delpo apparently didn't want to attend. Reportedly, Jaite told him that if he didn't show up he'd be excluded from the team (source).

(Fotobaires)
Then came the tie itself. The facts are simple, Delpo played despite being injured, like David has done on several occasions. He aggravated his injury and had to pull out of the tie, just like David had to in the first round, last year. But to a very different general reaction. And the way these things were presented to the public surely didn't help. Delpo left it to Jaite and team doctor Miguel Khoury to break the news about his withdrawal. And prior to the fourth rubber, he apparently told Charly, "I'm not in the shape to beat Berdych" (source). A quote that only seemed to confirm his suspected lack of commitment, even if it's clear by now that Delpo will be out for a month as a result of having played the tie. Jaite on the other hand, when asked about the whistles and boos Delpo received when he left the stadium after the fourth rubber, said that he "didn't like" those things, that they were "not good", though not without adding that "we can't tell people what to do" (source).

After three years with Tito Vázquez, at the end of last year the AAT decided to appoint Martin Jaite as captain. A dream come true for David, who had wanted his former coach for the job ever since Luli Mancini resigned. Delpo on the other hand was reportedly not amused that the AAT made this decision without consulting him. The appointment of Mariano Zabaleta as vice-captain (who hails from Tandil, just like Delpo) was apparently an attempt at building bridges between the two formerly opposed factions (Jaite was still David's coach at Mar del Plata). But now, the relationship between Jaite and Delpo is described as very strained.

Still, over all of this, it gets easy to overlook what shouldn't be overlooked - Pico, Edu and Charly. And all the other players who never took part in any of the drama, those who were simply there, who played and did the best they could. Those, who had (and still have) to put up with the antics of Delpo and of David, who's also no saint in this regard.

On Wednesday, the draw will be made for the Davis Cup 2013. Martin Jaite will continue as Argentina's captain, he's under contract until 2014. But will Delpo play next year?
And above all - will David?

(AAT)

28 comments:

  1. Great article Julia, I dont really think Delpo would not want to play next year, if hes unpopular now dont know what that decision would do to him.

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  2. Thanks. Well, I guess he'll keep up his tradition of not playing in the first round.
    At the same time, it also shows you how quickly things can change. Not too long ago, they were celebrating Delpo for the bronze medal he won.

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    1. Thats the way sports go, one minute you can be a hero and the next a villain.Kind of looks like he wanted to be the hero, tried, saw its not so easy to become one and then quit in the middle which is never a popular move with the fans.I dont think he should be called out for playing a lot this summer, because its his career and he can do what he wishes but I dont respect the crying interview and saying how he plays for the fans and then doesnt go all the way.

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    2. As I wrote in the post, the same thing happened with David. That was a first round, not a semifinal. But who knows what the reactions would've been like, had Argentina not won that tie.

      I don't think Delpo should be blamed for not "going all the way" and risking his wrist after what happened with his other wrist. David is not the only one who's had a career-threatening surgery.

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  3. Delpo basically pulled off "a full David" with his tie. From playing injured, complete with the shedding of tears after winning the match, to being more or less totally at odds with the team captain.
    - I guess that's what made this tie so strange for me to watch.

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  4. Excellent report, Julia. I think as Adrian said in a previous comment, there's no way Argentina can win the DC with the current dynamic. It's apparent that Berdych and Stepanek's approach works. They show up, bust their butts, play great tennis and don't yap about everything. No drama, just hard work. Maybe that's why Radek made the comments about Delpo in the article I linked in your last post. Delpo really leaves himself open to this. All during the U.S. Open the commentators kept taking about his "supposed" wrist problem and then he'd go out and play brilliantly. I don't know how bad he's hurting, but he certainly acts like a guy who's soft. Or at least not forthright enough to level with his coach (Jaite) about whether he's good for two matches or not. PR is definitely not the big guy's strong suit. At least David had nothing to do with this loss. And, yeah, I say mega kudos to Pico, Edu, Charly and the backups. It's really a shame because Argentina is such a strong tennis nation and the people really love their boys. They deserve better.

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  5. Thank you. About Stepanek's remarks, well, he likes to play mind games, also on court. I watched the match and to me, Delpo didn't look okay. So I wasn't surprised when he pulled out.
    But the point is that Berdych and Stepanek don't make playing DC about themselves, they just play. While both Delpo and David do exactly that. With David, it's also always been about his great mission, about his goal, about the sacrifices he made. And never really about the team. Delpo is now doing the exact same thing. And none of it is really helping the Argentine team.

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  6. Julia, dont you think that the situation was exagerated in general, Argentina was unlucky because David was injured and Delpo too, Juan Martin made the effort to play(i think he played with some pain, especially after the tear burst that came after the match) and he defeated Stepanek, If Pico defeated Berdych maybe this situation would have not even existed, i trust Delpo, and i think he was sincere and that he really couldnt play the fourth point(as you said, he wont play again in over a month)and i appreciate the effort that he made by playing on friday, i didnt like the remarks of Stepanek nor the whistles against him, but then again, us argentinians focus only in success, as for our dear David, let us hope that he plays in 2013 to see if he can finally fullfill his dream of winning the cup.

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  7. I don't doubt that Delpo wasn't fit. As I've said, he didn't look fit to me during the match that he played. And I haven't written anything in my post to suggest otherwise.
    I just think that David and now Delpo as well make playing DC about themselves and about their personal ambitions or problems. And I think that this hasn't and still isn't really helping the overall cause.

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    1. Yeah, you are right, i was talking about the situation in general, though.Anyway sometimes us argentinians are too rough with the players, and maybe we need more team spirit,i dont know, something always happens, as you said at the beggining of the post, its a drama, i just wish things were better and if we are defeated, that we learn from that for future engagements.

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    2. It's always drama because it's always about one player or the other, and never really about the team as a whole. Usually, it's about David, about his special mission to win DC. But in this particular case, it was about Delpo. And I guess it was watching what's basically the same phenomenon with a different player (and without the usual involvement) that really was an eye-opening experience. For me, at least.

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  8. Del Potro was told no to play before de USOpen and he did ok there, then suddenly, after the match with Nole ended he said he was going to see what his doctor said to him (when he was aked about the DC). Varsky, a huge Del Potro defenderder, had to admit that Del Potro didn't went to see the doctor again, he just repeated what the doctor said before the USOpen, so the recomendation was not for the DC only like he said here. First lie. (the going to see the doctor. He acted like a diva with the play/not play thing, the not answering the calls from the team, the "put me a gym at the Parque Roca for me" plus he made the entire team wait until two days before the tie to tell them the ok, and he did it infront the reporters, with the infamous "for the people", he trained alone with his coach while the team was in Parque Roca, he only showed up day the before the tie, after, as you said, going to the dinner because if not he was going to be left outside AND Jaite was going to tell the press why.... He didn't even wanted to be at the picture of the team (the official one in the park) Del Potro Didn't talk with his team mates or captains, he didn't even watch more than a couple of games from Monaco's match and he didn't went to say anything to Pico after the losing, a supoussed friend. He wasn't with the team the little time he was wacthing the matches, he was with Davin, first and then Martin Palermo, an ex-soccer player. By the way, did you know how the people, his team mates and Jaite-Zabaleta knew about the whole not playing? by twitter, by Lito Pintos, a journalist because Palermo told him... So he told Palermo before the team. He never answered the cell during the whole week and he just gave the team the original report the doctor gave him. By the way he didn't let the doctors from the argie team near him... He didn't look like he wanted to be there during the whole match, not because pain or not only pain, he was with a bad face and looked annoyed, pure and simple. After his match ended he just started to cry and say I did "it for the people"... again.... That's not puling a David. David cried for pain, because he couldn't help it. not for the show or to be popular... The last day he was forced by Jaite to be with the team, and while his doctor said the wrist should be inmovilizated, he was even closing a car's door with that hand without any problem and even holding his head with it. The only thing he didn't do was dancing flamenco (with the wrist moving), but almost there. Nobody is obligated to play the Davis, but again, quitting in the middle of a tie? in 2008 after the "tear" he was spoted playing soccer with friends, like nothing, on monday (the injury was on friday), running and trainning ten days after. Now this?And for the worst you even have people who hates David saying the Delpo's demands are ten times worst than Nalbandian any days? What pissed off the crow, and me as you can see, is the "I do it for the fans"... just to get an ovation, just to be loved, empty words just to please.

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  9. ten minutes after that he does what he did. And of course the Martin Palermo knows first than the captain. He didn't want to lose, so he choose not play. In other terms he didn't have the guts to go there and lose infront of the argie crow. To not look "bad". That was something even Varsky said too. So "for the people"? NO, darling. If you dot feel it? ok, don't do it. You could be less popular by saying you don't care about the DC? Maybe, but you're not going to be boooed. You're booed when you lie, when you want to please everybody and look ok and popular by doing things you don't feel, so the compromise is relative. I'm sure that waht happened was mostly because the way he behave after the match, that din't feel sincere at all. He did it for himself to look ok, wich is great because a point is a point, But don't put yourself into somekind of "poor me I suffer a lot, but I do it for you.. adore me" He just wanted the moment David had a year ago? that's stupid, because David actually felt it and his action were consistant with his words. Del Potro was the oposite, so no it's not for the injury or the quitting.... is the way he did it. Sorry for the rant. Guiller

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    1. Nah,its ok, its a valid opinion. Everybody has its own.

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  10. What makes you so sure that Delpo wasn't in pain? I watched his match against Stepanek, just like I watched some of his previous matches. And I'll repeat it, to me, he didn't seem okay.
    I've written about the things that happened prior to the tie. And about Delpo, making this tie all about himself. Just like David has made other ties all about himself. So yes, I do think that Delpo pulled a David with this one, and in more than one way.

    By the way, your posts do remind me of someone who used to post here in the past. Are you sure you're not Anna?

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  11. No, I’m not for sure he wasn’t in pain, but also I’m not sure he was. Why? His past. Why a lot of people or journalist doubt about it? There’s a post above about the people on US TV saying his “suppoused” injury. Not argentine, american, not Nalbandian’s fan, like a lot of Del Potro fans say when someone says he couldn’t play that way if he was injured the way he said he is.
    THAT’s the point. I’m a little more calm now. Sorry for the rant, but I don’t regret or changed my mind. No, I’m not who you said I am. But I’m not surprised if someone said similars things in the past about Del Potro. Why everytime the DC comes starts the Delpo plays-won’t play? Because his behaviour.
    I agree in a 90 % about pulling a david with the Diva Behavior, in that sense, yes, but the diference is David supported that kind of things with results in courts and compromise. Del Potro doesn’t. More he does look like someone who wants to have the ovation without taking the risk of losing. He said he wasn’t in shape to win. TO WIN, he didn’t say he couldn’t play. Charly could win against Berdych? So if you going to act like the Davis’ Hero you want to be infront of the people, YOU MUST act like it always. IT’S NOT NECESARY THAT TYPE OF THING, more it goes against the team’s spirit, but if you do it, DO IT until the end. The first thing he said, after finish the match was “you could see how much I suffered, But I did it for you”. Sorry, what? I don’t not if this guy has a psicological issue or similar, and I swear I’m not saying it in a bad way or bashing him, I really don’t, but He always seems to need to be in the victim/person who suffer role. He says he’s injured, he plays great, suddenly the rival goes and breaks his game and he starts to call trainner or doing things about the injury, when he breaks back, it’s all great again. It’s like he needs to show the public he is injured, he is in pain. It makes me feel like he’s affraid to lose, just because what the people could say

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  12. And it’s ok for the circuit, but not for the DC, because is a team, and someone who’s affraid to lose is not reliable. Worst if he acts like the Prima Donna. So if you choose to be Hero, take the risk. We love moral’s champions, come on! Nobody was going to say anything if he losed to Berdych. But after saying that kind of things, the way the people knew about his absence (Flavia Palmiero, Martin Palermo), his mistreat to the team and players, laughthing his ass off during Berloqc’s match, not watching the other matches? Plus the carbon copy of Mar Del Plata 2008’s behaviour? The result is that. Now, the first thing he does is call to the media to say he was going to be out for a month. That was going to happen, with or without the DC, according to some specialist the press consulted. I don’t have a problem with a player not wanting to play. I have problems with people who wants/needs to be loved and put like the Hero and not taking the risk the “Hero” is suppoused to take. It’s like Superman waiting and the door for the fireman rescuing the kid from the fire and then taking the kid for the picture of the papers. Superman is going to get booed. David does the things because he loves to be a hero and for ego, but he takes the risks, Del Potro doesn’t, and he lasck of compromise is a problem in the planning of a tie.
    I really think the guy is under a lot of pressure, but if he doesn't stand up and do what he really wants and stops traying to be loved by the crow and affraid of what the people could say? He's in deep troubles, wich I'm sorry for him, but not if he leaves the team, for second time, in the middle of a tie, more if this time acted like a total Prima donna, without the risk of it. It's easy to act like that. Guillermina

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  13. You're not sure he wasn't injured, you're convinced that he wasn't, or at least not badly enough to merit a withdrawal. And that he pulled out to avoid losing. But would a defeat have made him look worse than pulling out, in the middle of the tie? I really don't think so.
    His doctor told him not to play but to rest. So yes, it was clear that he'd be out. But now, due to having played, he'll be out for longer.

    David has ruined his health, playing DC when he was injured. For my part, I would've preferred it if, especially in the QF 2008, he would've stopped, if he would've pulled out.
    And for the record, David has gotten into all sorts trouble before for not paying attention to the matches of his teammates, including during the final, last year.
    I know, Anna, that you can't stand Delpo. I really do know that. And I'm not a fan, myself. But I try not to be unjust.

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  14. First, whatever you want to believe, I'm not Anna.
    Second, he was going out of the circuit, after the inmobiliation part BEFORE the DC. What I'm saying is that he took the easy way: NOT wanting to lose infront on his people, in the last point (or what could be the last point). Thinking that he'll be undertood because his injury after saying he played "for the people even feeling that horrible pain", and those words were the key to put him as the target with the way he acted the whole series, the fact that again he didn't let the DC's medic take a look, the sour face during the matches, etc, plus the absence of Nalbandian, the "bad guy" to take the blame for every lose and problem in the team (even when David was to blame, but not for everything), and the people remembered 2008, so the result was the last one he expected. and in this case he had it coming. Not for pulling out, for acting like some victim obligated to play, suffering like a dog but doing it for love for the crow. All knew he was with pain, at least he keeps saying that since Cinci, no need to make that overacted speach qhen you don't feel play the DC. That's my point. You got injured, don't play, but the gossips, rumors, suspicious, etc are the result of his past's acts and the speach he did. He doesn't like to look bad, it's a person trying to be liked by everyone. And nobody can do that. David was stupid to ruin his health, and he did it because he wanted to win the DC FOR him. But, at least, he was inteligent enough to not put himself and the poor guy with the speach after Soderling match, for example because it was visible. the same with Nadal sometimes or Nole the past year. But if Del POTRO wants to be the hero David is considered here, because there's no other reason for saying those words, well, act like him. It's stupid and irrational doing that, nobody in their right mind would do it, BUT that's why David is the DC's legend here. So if you want that because some ego thing? well, asume the risk the other crazy person asumed. If you don't, don't play and say it's not your priority. You won't get booed for that. You get boooed for standind in the middle and treating the fans like they're stupid, those were the feelings of the people there, according to some interviews and posts. If you want your picture at the papers with the rescued kid, go into the fired, but don't stand in the doorway because it's hot in there. Nobody asked him to be a hero, he put himself in that position, without felling it, just to look ok, for ego. I wouldn't be saying this if he didn't play the entire tie. His words made his bed. GUILLERMINA

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    1. Okay, I'll try again. I think pulling out wasn't the easy way out because it was bound to make him look worse than he would have, losing to Berdych. And it was the DC team's doctor, who told the media about the withdrawal (and his diagnosis), as written in my post.

      You think David is a hero for having not only risked but successfully destroyed his health in DC. I would've preferred it if he hadn't. And I think he could be a hero also without it.

      You can't stand Delpo. I know. And yep, I know what I believe, and I know, why.

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    2. Okay, I took it the other way, the pulling out I mean. Still, he got away with that once in 2008, I think he though he could do it again. The problem he was in the open now, the only one acting like a Diva, so his probably even taking the blow for what he did in 2008 too. Delayed but those are the comments here too.
      I'm not saying David is a Hero for risking his health, I'm saying in Argentina he has that image, the one player who is alway there and left everything on court.i think he was stupid to doing it. I was one of the first to say here that I was so glad david couldn't make it to this tie. What I'm saying, AGAIN is that you want to be seen like someone who's considered a hero for doing things (that I agree were stupid and illogical)like playing injured, getting worst, compromising his future, etc, well if you want to be seen as an equal, you must act like that. Not saying Del potro should play injured even one point, more knowing he honestly doesn't care his interests are other, I'm saying that if you want to look good infront of the crow, getting an ovation and the first you do is pointing out how badly injured you are but that you it for the people, well, go until the end for that way. Your ego makes you want to be considered a Hero for the same reasons David is? Well, go crazy and stupid and act like he did. Or don't do it since the beggining, not the middle things, less mistreating your team mates, not going to the kids day, not wanting to be in the picture, etc. But if You want to be like the one who plays injured? (I repeat I suffered like crazy in those matches with Soderling and Ungur and cursed David like crazy, so I don't think that was a hero thing, was stupid)Well you can't make one and not the other. Mostly when it's clear that you don't care about the tournament and you're doing it mostly to please people and sponsors, just for pprr. Do like Federer, he doesn't care. It was the DC doctor whot told the media, but he also said on an interview for La Red (argentine radio)that he didn't check Del Potro wrist, that he only got the report and he talked based on that. He made that pretty clear. He got the call from Del Potro's team, the paper and he made the annoucement. it wasn't HIS diagnosis, he even was asked that specifically.

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    3. You can't stand Delpo. I know.

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  15. My point is, the booing is not for pulling out. Because it looks like some irrational thing, the booing was the result of the context, how he pulled out, his actions in the past, his actions during the tie, his not honest words, his playing the Davis for looking good ALL of that reached the tolerance point, when again, he left the tie in the middle. The not playing, as the fact alone, was not the reason. Guille

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    1. Well, thats an opinion, i think a section of the argentinian crowd was to harsh and criticized him because he didnt play, and i believe his words were honest, i could be wrong,of course.

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  16. DelPo was injured. So, even if he played on Sunday against Berdych, he would've probably lost the match and worsen his wrist's injury. Now he's out for one month while he was supposed to have rest and skip DC in the first place.
    He pulled a David, and I think he wanted to play on Sunday but he just couldn't... So yeah, that's lots of drama around one player (this time, it's DelPo), but the final result is the loss anyway. Not sure if the team will be strong enough to win DC next year (or any year soon), they need to get along well, and work together with the captain. The tension was indeed palpable...

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  17. And that's the whole point. It's always tension, it's always drama. After the tie, I read lots of articles. And in one of them, Pico was quoted as having said that what they need is a team that works well together. On a personal level.
    I guess he knows why.

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  18. I may have been misunderstood and criticized about my comments dated Sep. 21 2011 on Delpo’s cross kissing.
    I’m not a religious person myself, however when I see a player cross kisses “when” winning and not so “when” losing that tells me a lot about that person.
    Since then I haven’t changed my opinion towards Delpo and yes I AGREE with the “anonymous”.
    David is veteran player and proud of his achievements as a DC player. So respect, advice and consultation what something should be expected from his team members towards him. Like his relationship with his little “brother” Schwank :) or Monaco.
    The situation is similar when working for a company and a newly hired kid begins advising/criticizing a senior employee…for gaining some cheap points??
    I don’t see any reason as why David should be labeled “who's also no saint in this regard”. As I’ve mention above, he has seniority/achievements (who nobody can deny) and the right to express his opinion, choosing the location of the court and awards that comes with it…DC 2008.

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  19. I think I understood you pretty well. I was just completely baffled (and taken aback, to be honest) that anyone would come up with this particular kind of "criticism".

    David is no saint because for him, playing DC is not about the team. It's his personal glory and place in Argentine sports history that he's after. That's something even Anna and I agree on. If you want to think that David is this benevolent father figure on the team, leading and helping the others - okay. I don't think that's what he is. Which doesn't take anything away from his achievements. But he's not a team player.

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