When it comes to David's schedule, few things are, or have ever been, certain. And not just because of injuries or the Davis Cup. But there is one event that has been part of his schedule each and every year since 2004 - the Copa Peugeot Argentina de Tenis.
Held at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club, which also hosts the Copa Claro, the Copa Argentina is usually David's last event of the year, a chance to play in front of his home crowd and to simply have some fun. At this event, pretty much anything can happen, from rather serious matches (mostly in the final) to not so very serious ones, including laughs and banter between the players. But what's guaranteed is a great atmosphere and some entertaining tennis under the lights at the BALTC.
This year, the Copa Argentina celebrates its 10th anniversary. On the occasion, here's a look back at some memorable moments...
It was the year Guga Kuerten and Delpo paid a visit to the BALTC, though a a short one, as both lost the first match they played (no Super Six format until 2009). It was also the year David came to the Copa Argentina as the newly-crowned Masters Cup champion. And he finished the season by winning his first Copa Argentina (with victories over Pico, Chela, and then Calleri in the final). Complete with winning the first of by now altogether four Peugeot cars. I guess it's safe to say that he was a lot more excited about the Mercedes he got for his victory at Shanghai...
In tennis terms, and although it had been a great season for him, the Copa Argentina 2006 wasn't really something to write home about. David lost his first match against Nicolas Lapentti and that was it. But at least he got to take part in a very special round of football-tennis. David and the one and only Diego Maradona against Carlos Moya and Guillermo Cañas.
After winning the title for a second time in 2007, David's return to the Copa Argentina in 2008 was overshadowed by what had happened a month earlier
- Mar del Plata. And his controversial role in the final. Playing his first match against Chela, David initially received a frosty reaction from the crowd but then managed to win them over again by giving everything he could in this match. But it wasn't enough. David (troubled by his hip injury at the time) lost to Chela but reconciled the crowd.
Seven months after hip surgery, and after winning his first exhibition in San Juan, David made an amazing comeback at the Copa Argentina, with the crowd celebrating his return. After beating Carlos Moya (see clip above), taking a set against Gaston Gaudio was enough to reach the final against Marcos Baghdatis (see clip below). In a highly entertaining match David eventually prevailed in straight sets, winning what surely was his most unexpected of all the titles he won at this event. And prompting Baghdatis to affectionately call him a "pain in the ass" (unfortunately, that moment is not in the clip), a verdict he'd later repeat after the Washington final 2010.
In 2010, David won the Copa Argentina for a record-breaking fourth time, with victories over Chela, Marat Safin (in a not very serious but very entertaining match) and eventually Pico in the final. Last year, however, his appearance already ended after his first match, even though he won it. After a great performance against Juan Carlos Ferrero, David was forced to pull out due to knee problems.
What this year's Copa Argentina is going to bring for David, who hasn't played a match since August and will find himself up against some rather tough opponents - we'll see. But in any case it'll be great to finally see him on court again. (Fingers crossed for streams...)