Merely a few days ago, it seemed like this season might still end on a positive note for David. It seemed like he'd soon be on his way to Europe for the indoor events, a chance to play in the conditions he likes best (and has done so well in, in the past). It would've also been a chance to draw a line under the the last few months, to forget about the Queen's Club final and everything that has happened since. It would've been a chance to enjoy himself on court.
But what began as a "minimal discomfort" during a practice session ahead of the US Open has now put an end to all those hopes and to David's season. It's the only injury he has suffered this year but it could've hardly come at a more inopportune moment. Now that David is going to decide whether or not to play another year.
Basically, that's been the deal from the start - play until 30 and then see if he wants to go on. There were some variations (for example after he won Washington) but that was the main version, the one he kept returning to during the last couple of years. Ahead of this season, David talked about having two years left of playing at a good level, saying that as long as he managed to stay healthy he'd go on playing. The change came in May. It was around the time of the Madrid Masters that David first said he'd make his decision about retirement at the end of the year. Though back then, he still named his health and fitness as the decisive factors. Since the Queen's Club final the decisive factor has been whether he wants to go on playing.
The last time David answered the question about his possible retirement was at the press conference he gave during the Davis Cup semifinal, a month ago. His reply was:
At the end of the year, I'm going to evaluate how I feel and I'll see what I want to do. Right now, I still want to compete. (Source.)Back then, he didn't know yet that for him the season was already over. Now he finds himself caught up in another lengthy recovery process, as his injury is obviously more complicated than expected. Sidelined again, like he was far too often during the last two years. At the end of a season that I think has been a severe disappointment for him, and not just the second half of it, because he had very different hopes and expections. So where do we go from here?
There's one thing that could keep him going, despite the disappointment and the latest injury trouble - the Davis Cup, of course. The great dream he's always had and that's still within his reach. Perhaps, watching the Argentine team from the stands during the semifinal has made him realise that he's not ready to give up his dream just yet. He could focus on Davis Cup next year and play a reduced schedule outside of it. Though that would mean abandoning the other goals he had for this year. If he decides to retire then I don't think he'll leave without saying goodbye to his home crowd at the Copa Argentina or at the Copa Claro.
The one thing that's certain right now is that nothing is certain. Also not when David is going to inform us about his decision. So it's some nerve-wracking weeks ahead for us...