It's been a year with some very good results on the one hand, and others that were not what I was hoping for.That's how David put it and that's one way of putting it. But I think it's safe to say that 2012 really was unlike anything David could've possibly imagined. - Or what he was hoping for.
He finishes this year ranked #82. That's the lowest year-end ranking he's had since his very first year on the Tour. After a season that once more ended with injury troubles and with only 38 matches - just like back in 2010. Though back then, he played fewer tournaments (11 to this year's 16). In short, 2012 really wasn't a good year for David, for various reasons. Here's a look back at the season that seemed promising at first but then took a very different turn.
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Early on, it looked like this would be a good season for David. He seemed in to be in great shape and far less prone to injury than in recent years. The best example was the Golden Swing. Previously always good for another adductor tear but this time, David played all of it, and directly after the first round of Davis Cup. And making the quarterfinal at São Paulo and the semifinal at the Copa Claro he played the second best Golden Swing of his career.
But the best event by far for David this year was Indian Wells. Historically not the most successful of grounds for him (though still more so than Miami or Cincy), David battled his way through a tough draw and beat two Top10 players in Tipsarevic and Tsonga on his way to the quarterfinal. There, he lost Nadal. But although David came pretty close to beating him that match takes us straight to:
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One of David's problems this season was that that he lost those matches where he played his best tennis. Whether against Nadal at Indian Wells, against Murray at Rome, or against Isner at the Australian Open (the one and only match, involving two incidents, one concerning a challenge during it, and the other concerning water...).
Another problem can be summed up by a single number - 7. That's the number of first-round exits David suffered this year. Now, seven is not a record for David. That stands at ten and dates back to 2002. But back then he played 24 tournaments. This season, he played 16. So he went out in the first round at almost half of the events he played. And that's not the end of it...
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It was a moment of madness that made headlines around the globe. And it turned David into "the player, who kicked a line judge", complete with the inevitable internet shitstorm that followed. Some journalists, like Matt Cronin and Jon Wertheim, called for David to be banned from the Tour, while Nadal, Murray and also Cilic defended him, pointing out that the whole thing had been nothing more than an unfortunate accident.
David lost his ranking points and prize money from that week and also received the maximum fine. But nothing has ever been heard again of the criminal charges that the line judge in question filed against David.
As to why he lost it during the Queen's Club final, at a point in the match where he had just dropped his serve but led by a set and had a good chance to win - my theory you'll find here.
That moment of madness also proved be the turning point of David's season. After the Queen's Club final, he only got to play five more events until the injury he picked up ahead of the US Open ended his season. And at those five events he managed to win exactly one match (against Haase at Winston-Salem). At the other four, including Wimbledon and the London Olympics, David didn't make it past the first round, first losing to Tipsarevic twice in a row and then to Haas, also twice in a row.
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After three stormy years with Tito Vázquez, this year a new era in Argentine Davis Cup tennis began - with David's former coach Martin Jaite as the new captain.
The premiere took place in Bamberg, in the first round against Germany, with David first defeating Mayer and then clinching the tie for Argentina in the doubles with Edu Schwank (coming back from to sets down).
The quarterfinal tie against Croatia at the Parque Roca proved to be more of a battle. David lost his singles match against Cilic but then won the doubles, again playing together with Edu Schwank, before Delpo sealed Argentina's victory.
The most controversial tie of the year, however, the lost semifinal against the Czech Republic (the eventual champions), David had to follow from the stands. Far away from the action on court - and also far away from the drama. For once...
It's been a bad, crazy, unlucky and really difficult year for David. Not the kind of season we were hoping for and also certainly not the kind of season he was hoping for. I believe that his hopes and expectations for this season might have been a bit too high. That he was putting himself under a lot of pressure. And that this was also why he lost it at the Queen's Club.
But the good thing about this season is - he really couldn't let it end like this. Judging by his recent interviews, it seems that he wants to approach the next season in a different, more relaxed manner (except when it comes to the Davis Cup, of course). And as far as I'm concerned, that's a good idea. For what's in all probability going to be his last season.
More about that, as in a look ahead at 2013, next week.