Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Look Back at David's 2012 Season

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.

(Mauro Alfieri/La Nacion)
The good...
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:

(Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)
The bad...
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...

(Sang Tan/AP Photo)
The ugly...
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.

The aftermath
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.

(Daniel Garcia/Getty Images)
La Copa Davis
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.


  1. Shitstorm?? Really? Hahahahaha, didn’t know that word

    Anyway, I totally agree with your summary of David’s season

    By the way, you didn't mention that nalby might have to fight for his place among the argentine team; I mean there’s no reason that jaite will automatically take him, after all there are 4 guys ahead of him in the rankings, plus he didn't particularly play well in 2012 (not that I wanna sound negative or anything)

  2. It wasn't a very long season for David but all the weird incidents make it feel like it lasted forever! I hope he has better luck next season.
    Fabian with all due respect to the other players, I don’t believe that David’s current ranking reflects his actual level and from the two matches he played recently, it seems he’s doing very well. I think Jaite knows that when fit David is an asset to the team but that’s my opinion.

  3. Agreed, Camilia. Even if David doesn't play singles, he and Edu are currently the leading doubles pair, and in fact I don't think the rankings are reflected in doubles either - David should be first choice for doubles, with any partner.

    A word for Charly Berlocq - he's not much younger than David yet only made his DC debut this year. I thought he made a tremendous effort in that match where he replaced Delpo. It was a near-impossible task, and he went down with all guns blazing. He gave his home crowd something to enjoy, despite the end result.

    Fabian - haha, a shitstorm isn't familiar to me either. Not the sort of weather you want to get caught in without a very big umbrella. :0

  4. It's not my invention. Here in Germany, we use the word shitstorm for this sort of reaction on the internet. And I think it's a very fitting description...
    I mean, the outrage on forums, Twitter etc didn't surprise me. But to see the likes of Cronin and Wertheim apparently "seeking revenge" for David's lack of cooperation - that was really weird.

    As for David having to fear that he might not make the DC team, Jaite has already said all there is to say about that. If David is fit and wants to play DC (try to imagine David, not wanting to play DC) - he'll be part of the team. And David has already said that he'll play those rubbers Jaite wants him to, even if that means only playing the doubles.
    The real question in this context is what's going to happen with Delpo.

  5. Cronin, et. al., are really childish when it comes to reporting on anything about David. What kind of "revenge" are they seeking after all these years of journalistic bullying? And here in the US, we use the word shitstorm as well.

  6. Well, they wanted David to get banned from the Tour. After all, it's not like anything they write in their articles is going to bother him. But Cronin's and Wertheim's reactions to the QC final showed that they obviously took it personally, David and his typical way of treating journalists.

  7. When it comes to him, it's always personal because he won't talk to them or won't give them something newsworthy to talk about. Why don't they come out and say "I hate you" and be done with it? Maybe that's too easy but less convenient for them...the more convenient route would be to play bully and say things that stop short of slander.

  8. For what it's worth, other players sticking up for David is what saved him really...and what forced the ATP to issue a statement that they would no longer pursue disciplinary action.

  9. The ATP said from the start that there would be no consequences for David beyond QC, and they stuck to that. Despite the things David said in the on-court interview.

    Those reactions after the QC final were over the top. And they if they want to criticise David for being unprofessional then they shouldn't be acting unprofessionally, themselves.
    I think it's a matter of of bruised egos. And Cronin and Wertheim are certainly used to being treated very differently by other players. They're not the only journalists, who complain about David, all of them do (including the Argentines). But they really got carried away after QC.

  10. They were looking for just the thing to justify their attitude toward him..and QC was it. I knew it was going to be that way...

    David is part of the blame here too, in regards to the complaints. Journalists make or break you...and if you decide that you are not going to engage, they have no choice but to imagine you for themselves. Notice that most of the top players, as hostile as they are to journalists, craft a media persona to deal with the uncomfortable reality of giving interviews. They also use this persona to control what they release to the media and what they don't. Unfortunately, David has not done a good job of dealing with the media, and they fry him for it every single time.

  11. Who's hostile to journalists except David? The top players are all media-trained these days. To convey a certain image but also as a shield against the media exposure, so much greater now than it used to be in the past.

    David is different. But it's not his lack of a media persona that the journalists complain about. David has a habit of treating journalists like idiots. Some apparently take it personally, others have grown used to it by now. And the Argentine journalists don't really have much of a choice.
    I mean, on the one hand, he doesn't like dealing with the media. But on the other hand, news are hardly ever spread by the official site or its extensions. For that, David and his camp usually rely on the media.

  12. Yeah...biting the hand that "feeds" you...never a good idea. So what if some journalists are idiots; you can tell which ones have your best interests and which ones don't. Making enemies out of people who have the power and ability to help you along is not good business sense. Why no one has been candid about that point, I don't know.

    1. He treats all journalists like that. But that has never kept him from getting sponsorship or advertising deals. It's a different image and importance that he has in Argentina.

    2. True....but his reach extends far beyond Argentina. That's a fact he overlooks time and time again.

    3. To be honest, I don't think he cares.

  13. Nice summary of the year. It brings back some (a few) good memories and more bad ones. Indian Wells was a good one. Nadal was there for the taking. Belgrade was good until David took his foot off the gas against Seppi. Could have won that tournament with the light field. And then Queen's Club was great until the "kick." It was all over after that. Seven first-round exits for the year is not good. Yep, I agree David pressed too hard. New year in two weeks, though.

  14. Thanks. Yeah, a handful of good memories and more bad ones - that sums it up. Though for me, it's of course Bamberg that stands out, a weekend I'll never forget. :)

    Anyway, yeah, new year not far away now. But still six weeks until DC...

  15. No news from David. Meanwhile, Jaite and Zabaleta are holding their training camp for youngsters, called "Next Stop: Davis Cup", in Buenos Aires. Juan Ignacio Chela, Charly Berlocq and Sebastian Prieto (former doubles specialist and part-time partner of David) are there as well. Some pics here.