Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Adios Acapulco - David Loses to Giraldo

(Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images)



















To start with the good news: It was not another injury that was behind David's first-round loss yesterday. Instead, and to quote David, there were different reasons why this match turned out to be so very tough for him and why it ended with Santiago Giraldo prevailing 6-2, 6-2.
The hot weather probably was one of them. And having arrived in Acapulco only the day before, David didn't have much time to prepare and get used to the conditions. But most of all, as he had to admit, he felt "a little fatigued". And that's no surprise, really, considering the amount of tennis he has played in the last few weeks.

Having missed three opportunities to break in the first game of the match, David increasingly struggled on serve. Making as little as 35% first serves halfway through the first set, he got broken to give Giraldo a 4-2 lead and then again when he was serving to stay in the set.
At the start of the second set David managed to break Giraldo but now struggled even more on serve than before, making more first serves but winning less of them. After immediately handing the break back, David only managed to hold serve once (for 3-2) before getting broken to lose the match.

Talking to the press afterwards, and having admitted to feeling "a little fatigued", David went on to explain why he's playing such a demanding schedule these days. One that's perhaps a bit too demanding but has been designed for a specific purpose, namely making it onto the list of those 56 players, who will get to take part in the Olympics tennis competition:
I'm still not on that list, I have to improve my ranking. But it's one of my goals this year and that's what I'm working for.
It's going to be weird because two weeks after Wimbledon the Olympics will take place. That'll be something different but also nice. Let's see what fate will have in store when that moment arrives.
And in spite of yesterday's defeat and having reached his physical limits, he plans to continue playing as much as he possibly can.
I'll now go to Indian Wells. Now I need to improve that ranking. (Source.)
So he'll get a wildcard for Indian Wells.
And the quest for ranking points continues.

(Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Acapulco R1 - David vs Santiago Giraldo

Update II
Perhaps David's schedule was a little too ambitious after all... In any case, his streak of consecutive clay-court matches has now been stopped at match #10, with a defeat at the hands of Santiago Giraldo, who won 6-2, 6-2 in an hour and 20 minutes. Whether David ran out of steam, whether it was a bad day that he had or whether there was more to this defeat
- I'll try my best to find out.

Post and pics tomorrow...


(Getty Images; montage by VD)













Update
3.17pm local - David's match is now about to begin...

It's the last week of the Golden Swing and this week traditionally belongs to the 500 event in Acapulco. The "Golden Swing's crowning jewel", as the ATP website still insists on calling it. Some things apparently never change. But what's different about Acapulco this time is David's name in the draw and on the order of play for today.
For the first time since hip surgery David has now played two clay-court events in a row (plus a Davis Cup tie) without getting injured. That's nine consecutive matches on clay and counting, when during the last two seasons he never managed more than four until the next injury. At Melbourne, David said he had a feeling that this could be a better and more regular season for him. And it looks like was right. So after having had to pull out the last two years, today David will play his first match at Acapulco since 2009.

24-year-old Santiago Giraldo, currently ranked #80 (his best ranking was #44, last year), hasn't been too successful during the Golden Swing so far, going out in the first round at both Viña Del Mar and São Paolo. With his only victories on clay this year having come in Davis Cup, where he played for Colombia against Ecuador (America Group I). Giraldo had his best result at his first event of the season, with the quarterfinal he reached in Brisbane, followed by second-round exits at Auckland and the Australian Open. But judging by his results, Giraldo can do well both on hardcourt and on clay, and he was a quarterfinalist at Acapulco, last year (lost to Nicolas Almagro).

David and Santiago Giraldo have never met before, at least not to play an official match (they went on the visit to the samba school in São Paulo together). And I must admit that my knowledge about Santiago Giraldo and his game is rather limited...
But unfortunately, that's not going to change today, as there will be no stream for this match, only the scoreboard.

Edit: You may have seen it, Blogger has revamped the layout of the comments page - and not really for the better, as far as I'm concerned. Therefore, I've changed the settings so that if you open them, the comments will now appear on the front page, below the respective post. And it's now also possible to reply directly to specific comments. I hope you'll like it. :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Acapulco Draw

Update (27/02)
The new rankings are out and David has moved up 15 positions to #70.

Here it is, the draw for David's tournament next week, the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco. Due to a couple of withdrawals, he was able to get into the main draw without needing his wildcard. David has been drawn into the top half again, which looks like this:

[1] David Ferrer (ESP) vs [WC] Santiago Gonzalez (MEX)
Lukasz Kubot (POL) vs [WC] Daniel Garza (MEX)
Leonardo Mayer (ARG) vs Pablo Andujar (ESP)
[Q] Facundo Bagnis (ARG) vs [5] Florian Mayer (GER)

[3] Gilles Simon (FRA) vs Carlos Berlocq (ARG)
[Q] Alessandro Gianessi (ITA) vs Potito Starace (ITA) 
David Nalbandian (ARG) vs Santiago Giraldo (COL)
Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) vs [7] Marcel Granollers (ESP)

Complete draw here.

This is David's altogether fifth appearance at this event and the first in three years, after having missed out on the last two editions due to injury. His record at Acapulco is a bit of a mixed bag. He made it to the final in 2008 (which he lost to Nicolas Almagro) but apart from that it's been early exits for David at this tournament, so far.
Against his opponent in the first round, Santiago Giraldo (#80), David has never played before. Let's hope he can have a good start.

No Battle This Time - David Loses to David Ferrer

(Sergio Llamera/Copa Claro)

(Alejandro Pagni/AFP/Getty Images)
The expectations were high before this match, David's first semifinal in more than a year. But in the end, not even the passionate support from his home crowd could help David against "the other David" Ferrer, who prevailed 6-1, 6-4.
The first set saw David practically without any chance, unable to take the initiative during the rallies and making far too many unforced errors (15 to Ferrer's 4).
After the loss of the first set, however, he finally seemed to find his way into the match, with better serving and some well-constructed points. Until at 2-2 the rain came...
In the end, it was only a brief rain delay. But it was enough to derail David's attempt at making a comeback in this match, with Ferrer once again firmly in control after the break. At 5-3 for Ferrer, David managed to save two match points on his serve and once more, the crowd at the BALTC did its best to cheer him on. But then, only moments later, Ferrer served it out to love.
And a very frustrated David fled from the stadium, without another word...
A disappointing ending for what has been a great week at the Copa Claro. Perhaps, the expectations and the pressure were a little too high. Still, David played some very good tennis this week and those semifinal points will help him to improve his ranking.

Coming later tonight: the draw for Acapulco.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Copa Claro SF - David vs David Ferrer

(Reuters)


















Update II
This time, the Battle of the Davids wasn't really a battle... As it took "the other David" Ferrer only 64 minutes to beat David 6-1, 6-4. After a terrible and very nervy start, David was just beginning to find his way into the match when a rain delay stopped play.  And when the match finally continued, it was back to the way things had begun...

More tomorrow plus the draw for Acapulco.


(ESPN/Reuters; montage by VD)














Update
7.41pm local. Nicolas Almagro has defeated Stanislas Wawrinka in the first semifinal of the day. Next up now: The Battle of the Davids...

After beating two fellow Argentines in a row, in the semifinal today David gets to face a fellow David: 29-year-old David "Ferru" Ferrer, ranked #5 and the top seed of the tournament. At the PlayStation, the two Davids are a team but when they get to face off on the tennis court it usually means - a battle.

This is Ferrer's third event of the season and the first one on clay, after having successfully defended his title at Auckland and then lost in the quarterfinal at the Australian Open (to Novak Djokovic). At the Copa Claro this week, Ferrer has had it easy so far with victories over Argentine juniors Andrés Molteni and Facundo Bagnis (you may remember them from their stints as hitting partners for the Davis Cup team) before beating Fernando Gonzalez, currently on his goodbye tour, in the quarterfinal yesterday.
For the two Davids, this is encounter number thirteen, with their history on court spanning almost a decade by now and including matches at Masters events, Slams and in Davis Cup. The overall match record stands at 7-5 for Ferrer. But although David won three out of the last four meetings, on clay it's been Ferrer, who has held the upper hand, in all of their four encounters on clay, so far.

Matches between these two tend to be battles. They usually involve a number of breaks on both sides as well as plenty of long, very gruelling rallies and if the match doesn't end in the straights, whoever manages to take the first set prevails in the end. - Those are the empiric facts from past editions. So far this week, David has done exceptionally well, playing with the kind of controlled aggression that has allowed him to keep the rallies (and the matches) short. Today, he'll meet someone who will make that very difficult for him and who won't let him get away with sloppy service games. Ferrer is the favourite to win this match but if David can keep up his level and with the support of the crowd - perhaps anything is possible.

The Copa Claro Run Continues - David Downs Berlocq


"A free tennis lesson", "a lecture", "a display of his enormous talent". Those are some of the descriptions in the Argentine media of what David himself simply called "another great match" that he was "fortunately able to play", his 6-0, 6-3 quarterfinal victory over Carlos Berlocq in merely 61 minutes. In today's semifinal, however, a different kind of test is going to await him, in form of "the other David" Ferrer, the top seed at this event (match record: 5-7).

Last night, two games into the match, all streaming suddenly stopped. Apparently, the match was never supposed to be streamed on Tennis.tv (and the other sites, using their coverage) in the first place. But why it was still listed for a stream - I guess we'll never get to know.
So I can't tell you anything about this match, only that I was still frantically searching for another stream when a look at the scoreboard revealed that David had already taken the first set, 6-0 in what was something like 20 minutes. Apparently getting a little sidetracked after that, and suddenly finding himself down a break at the start of the second set, David levelled the score at 2-2. Having broken again for a 4-2 lead, he held but missed a couple of match points on Berlocq's serve at 5-3 before finally serving out the match, as can be seen in the clip above.

After the match, David was once more very happy with his performance. And he was also happy to have reached the semifinal and to get "another chance of doing it all again", playing in front of his home crowd. After "two very short seasons", during which it was "always very difficult to get any kind of ryhthm or continuity" he's now finally able to play more matches.
- And he's not the only one, who's happy about that.

(Telam)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Copa Claro QF - David vs Carlos Berlocq


(tournament website)











Update II
David's run at the Copa Claro continues: It took him just over an hour today to defeat Carlos Berlocq 6-0, 6-3. In the semifinal tomorrow, it'll now be time for another Battle of Davids, when David gets to face the top seed David Ferrer.

More tomorrow...


(Telam/Reuters; montage by VD)













Update
9.03pm local. The first match of the evening session has just finished. Next up now: David.

It's quarterfinals day at the BALTC and for David that means it's time to play another match against a fellow Argentine - Carlos "Charly" Berlocq, 29 years old and currently ranked #43.
A ranking that's mostly the consequence of his results on clay and especially at clay-court Challengers (of which he won five last season).

After second-round exits at Auckland and at the Australian Open, and now back on his favourite surface again, Berlocq was a finalist at Viña del Mar (lost to Juan Monaco). Last week, he reached the quarterfinal at São Paolo, where he was defeated by Nicolas Almagro, the eventual champion. This week at the Copa Claro, Berlocq caught a bit of a rough start against Pere Riba but after losing the first set in a tiebreaker he then went on to bagel Riba in sets two and three. And afterwards in the second round, Berlocq dispatched third seed Gilles Simon even more easily than David did, last week.
David and Charly Berlocq have met twice, so far. Both matches took place on clay and both times David won in the end. But while their first meeting at Roland Garros 2008 was rather one-sided, and Berlocq virtually chanceless, their second meeting at Santiago last year went the distance, after David "lost his focus" in the second set and was also struggling a bit in what was his first match on clay, last year. A problem he won't have, this time around.

Berlocq is a clay specialist and he has shown himself to be in good form of late. Still, if David can manage to play anywhere near as well as he did against Pico last night then he should have a more than decent chance of winning this match.

Edit: To pass the time until the match and in case you've always wanted to know who David thinks should play him in a movie: "60 seconds with David Nalbandian" on the Davis Cup website.

Gala Performance instead of Battle Epic - David Downs Pico


"Nalbandian cruises into Buenos Aires QFs", "Nalbandian crushes Monaco", "An inspired Nalbandian proves to be too much for Monaco" and last but not least "Lessons by the King". Those are some of the headlines David made last night with his amazingly easy 6-3, 6-1 victory over his compatriot, teammate and training partner Juan "Pico" Monaco. In a match that lasted just under one and a half hours, David didn't lose his serve once and though "Pico didn't have his best day, unfortunately" (quotes from the post-match interview), David played a simply fantastic match that has earned him a place in today's quarterfinal. There, he will meet another Argentine, Carlos Berlocq (match record: 2-0).

(Olé)
Playing "with a lot of intensity from the start", David broke Pico in the very first game. When his following service game turned into a fifteen-minute affair, complete with deuce battle and altogether three break points, it looked as if the match would turn into a battle epic. But those three saved break points turned out to be the only ones David faced in this match. At 3-1, he missed the chance to go up a double break but then managed to break again when Pico served to stay in the set, 6-3.
The second set began with another early break and another 2-0 lead for David, who was now firmly in control of the match. And who, whenever things got a little closer during his service games, managed to take it up a notch.
At 4-1, David got the double break after initially squandering a couple of break points before closing out the match on his own serve. 6-1.

That's merely the order in which things happened during this match. But the real story of it is of course David's brilliant performance, last night. While it has to be said that Pico didn't play well and committed an uncharacteristically large amount of unforced errors, David managed to impose his game on him and the variety he displayed during the rallies left Pico without any answers. Taking risks, whether with his groundstrokes (and with his forehand more solid than before), occasional drop-shots or well-timed approaches to the net, David took control of proceedings early on in this match and unlike the last time these two met at this event - he remained firmly in control until the end. In David's words (who also told the press that he's fine, physically): "I played a very good match and I'm happy about that. I made some errors but fortunately at moments that were not that important. Being in the lead from the start was an advantage. Now I get to play in front of the people here, again."
- Tonight, in the quarterfinal against Carlos Berlocq.

(Telam)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Copa Claro R2 - David vs Juan Monaco















Update
I thought this match would go the distance and that it would turn into a huge, long battle. But today, David found the balance between playing aggressively and not making too many unforced errors. And after just under one and half hours, he prevailed 6-3, 6-1.
In tomorrow's quarterfinal, David will now meet Carlos Berlocq (who beat Gilles Simon).
Apart from that, David will receive a wildcard for Miami (thanks, Mira).

Report and photos tomorrow.


(Getty Images/Reuters; montage by VD)













Less than two weeks have passed since David and Juan Monaco played and fought side by side for Argentina in the first round of Davis Cup. And from what I saw they also had a pretty good time, hanging out together on the third day, during the dead rubbers. Today, however, they meet as opponents in what's the match of the day at the Copa Claro.

Juan "Pico" Monaco, ranked #20 as of this week, began the season with a first-round exit at the Australian Open but then went on to win the title at Viña del Mar, his fourth career title and the fourth one on clay. From Chile, Pico came directly to Bamberg, where he won the first point for Argentina. With his easy victory over Filippo Volandri (who retired) in the first round as the only match he has played since then.
It's the fourth time that David and Pico play an official match against each other and in terms of the match record, David leads 2-1. But those two victories date back to the year 2005. Their most recent encounter took place at this very event (when it was still called Copa Telmex), in the semifinal 2009. Back then, David served for the match in the second set and was two points away from victory before eventually losing in a third-set tiebreak. A match that took place during David's months with the hip injury (as became known much later), a time when he struggled even more with closing out sets and matches.

Today, a lot will depend on whether David can find the balance between playing aggressively in order to keep the points short and not making too many unforced errors. Pico's defensive skills will force him to take risks, to go close to the lines and advance to the net whenever possible. Otherwise David will find himself getting entangled in those long, gruelling baseline rallies that will take their toll, and more so on him than on Pico. In short, it'll be David's offense against Pico's defense and chances are it's going to be a battle...

(tournament website)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Copa Claro: A Good Start


It was a good start for David's week at the BALTC and his Copa Claro campaign, against a somewhat overexposed opponent and with, of course, the support from his home crowd. After merely 81 minutes, David sealed an easy 6-2, 6-3 victory over Wayne Odesnik (the last two points of which you can see in the clip above). In the second round tomorrow however, a much tougher test awaits when David gets to face fifth seed Juan Monaco.

(Clarin)
Dominant from the start (and against an opponent who seemed slightly overawed, especially in the early stages), David broke Odesnik in the first game of the match. Without facing a break point throughout the first set, David extended his lead to a double break and 5-2 before closing out the set easily and at the first time of asking. 6-2.

Early on in the second set, David broke again to go up 2-1. But instead of building on this lead, David dropped serve in the next game, in the course of the only poor service game he played in this match. With the score levelled at 2-2 then followed the longest and most dramatic game of the match. Odesnik was already up 40-15 before David took him back to deuce and eventually, after a lengthy deuce battle managed to break back again for 3-2. After that, David was back on track again, cruising through his service games and finally breaking Odesnik again to take the match. 6-3.

At no point during this match, not even when David dropped serve or during the epic game that followed was the outcome in any kind of doubt. Simply because Odesnik didn't have the weapons to really put David under pressure. Instead, at times David seemed to be struggling more with the wind than with his opponent, especially when serving. After identifying Odesnik's backhand as his weaker wing, David tried to exploit that weakness, which led to plenty of cross-court exhanges and plenty of forehands that David had to hit in the process, including various forehand errors. But apart from that it was a very good and solid match from David, one that gave him the opportunity to experiment a bit during the rallies. And especially his backhand and approaches to the net were working very well. All in all - a very good start.

David himself was happy with his performance too, saying that he played "a good match" and that "playing at home and getting supported by the crowd is always nice". And playing at this event, at the BALTC is "something special". The conditions were a little difficult but he "played more solidly" than his opponent and of course he was "very happy to have won". About his upcoming encounter with Juan "Pico" Monaco David said it's going to be a "special match", one that comes very early in the second round but in any case it's going to be "a tough match" because "Pico has been playing well" and they know each other very well but he believes it'll be a "nice match", for the two of them as well as for the crowd.
Well, I think that most of all, it's going to be a very tough match for David.

P.S. What David also said in the post-match interview was that Odesnik was a difficult opponent for him because he knew "absolutely nothing" about him. So much for David, having at least heard of Odesnik before...

Update
It was clear before but now it's official - David gets a wildcard for Acapulco (source).

(tournament website)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Copa Claro R1 - David vs Wayne Odesnik















Update
David has won his first match at the Copa Claro, defeating Wayne Odesnik 6-2, 6-3 in 81 minutes. In the second round on Thursday, he'll now get to face his Davis Cup teammate Juan "Pico" Monaco.

Report and photos tomorrow.



(Reuters/AP Photo; montage by VD)
















As you'll know, I like to occasionally poke fun at David's habit of often enough not knowing (or not remembering) anything about his lower-ranked opponents. But in the case of his opponent today, and although they've never met on the Tour before, I guess it's safe to say that David will have at least heard of him. After all, Wayne Odesnik is what you could call the most notorious player on the Tour today.

Here's an attempt at a short summary of how he came by that reputation. In January 2010, Australian officials discovered HGH (human growth hormone) in Odesnik's luggage. In court, Odesnik pleaded guilty in March (and was sentenced to pay a fine) but he was allowed to go on playing until in April the ITF banned him for two years. A ban that was lifted at the end of 2010, due to "substantial assistance provided by Mr Odesnik in relation to the enforcement of professional rules of conduct" (source).
Odesnik took up playing again in 2011 (without a ranking) and within months he went from playing qualies at Future events to winning Challengers. By now, he's ranked #107 and the Copa Claro is his second ATP-level event since his ban.

Around two months before he got caught with HGH I saw Odesnik play live at the tournament in Vienna. What I remember from that match is that unlike other American players he doesn't possess a big serve (he's a lefty, by the way) but he defends and reads the game well, with the forehand his stronger wing, and his results show him to be at home, playing on clay. So David might find himself getting caught up in longer rallies, something he'll try to avoid.

Apart from that, there's a new interview that David gave Clarin yesterday. In it, he talks, amongst other things, about the current state of affairs and his loss to Volandri. But he also talks about the possibility of not making the main draw at Indian Wells and Miami. As apparently, there's no deal about him, getting a wildcard...
The interview (in form of a back-dated post) you'll find here.
Edit: David's name is on the qualifying entry list for Indian Wells. Whether that means he'll actually play qualies - we'll have to wait and see.

Monday, February 20, 2012

It's Copa Claro Week

(Copa Claro/FB)
I didn't have time to write a preview of the Golden Swing this year. But had I written another "A Look Ahead" post, the Copa Claro would've been at the centre of it - and not just because of its position in the calendar, between São Paulo and Acapulco.

Once again held on clay, despite Martin Jaite's attempts to change the surface to hardcourt, the Copa Claro at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club is David's home tournament. And it's an event where he has a good record, including four quarterfinals, a semifinal and the title he won back in 2008.

Last year, it was during the Copa Claro that David's hernia began to cause him trouble, which would later require surgery. This year, he comes to the BALTC directly from first playing Davis Cup and then São Paulo but so far, nothing has been heard about any any physical problems. And though that's no guarantee that everything is indeed okay, here's hoping that this year, David's ninth appearance at this very special event for him won't be overshadowed by any injuries.

Update
David's opponent in the first round will be lucky loser Wayne Odesnik (#107) who takes Thomaz Bellucci's place in the main draw (after Bellucci's withdrawal). It's going to be David's first match against Odesnik. And here's a first pic of David, training at the BALTC.

According to the tournament website the prime time slot in tomorrow's night session (at 7.30pm local) has already been reserved for David's match. And that's good news as it means there's going to be stream.

Finally, a look at the rankings. David still has 630 points and loses one place so he's now ranked #85. The reason he hasn't gained any ground despite reaching the quarterfinal last week is that today, his quarterfinal points from last year's Copa Claro have come off. So the overall count remains to be the same. Still, from now on David will have the chance to gain points (as he has nothing to defend until Wimbledon; Edit: okay, I forgot the 20 points from the Queen's Club) and perhaps still make the cut for the Olympics.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Copa Claro Draw

For his ninth appearance at Argentina's ATP tournament, David has been drawn into the top half and after playing his first match against a qualifier (qualifying draw here), he could face either Juan Monaco or Filippo Volandri - again - in the second round:

[1] David Ferrer (ESP) vs [Q] Andres Molteni (ARG)
[WC] Facundo Bagnis (ARG) vs Leonardo Mayer (ARG)
[WC] Fernando Gonzalez (CHI) vs Albert Montañes (ESP)
Albert Ramos (ESP) vs [8] Juan Ignacio Chela (ARG)

[3] Gilles Simon (FRA) vs Rui Machado (POR)
Carlos Berlocq (ARG) vs Pere Riba (ESP)
David Nalbandian (ARG) vs [LL] Wayne Odesnik (USA)
Filippo Volandri (ITA) vs [5] Juan Monaco (ARG)

Complete draw here.

São Paulo QF: David Falls to Volandri

(tournament website)

















David's first ever attempt to play a tournament directly after a Davis Cup tie has ended in the quarterfinal with a defeat against Filippo Volandri, who won 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. After the first set, Volandri managed to raise his level, putting David under pressure with his excellent defense and forcing him to take more risks. One of the reasons (along with his movement) that David made plenty of unforced errors in this match, much to his own chagrin.
But David fought on, just like he did in the first-round match - only that this time, it wasn't enough. In his own words:
I think Volandri played a very good match. I had many chances in the third set but I wasn't able to take advantage. I was a break down [in the third], I recovered it and at 4-4 I had two break points but I didn't convert them and that's how the match slipped from my hands. But I insist, he played a great match. He hit very good shoots from all over the court and that kept me rather out of balance. (Source.)
Next up for David is now his home tournament, the Copa Claro at the BALTC in Buenos Aires. The draw will be made later today.
(Note: Short version again, I'm still sick...)

(tournament website)

Friday, February 17, 2012

São Paulo QF - David vs Filippo Volandri















Update
David's visit to São Paulo has ended with a defeat at the hands of Filippo Volandri, who prevailed 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 after two hours and 23 minutes and what seemed like somehwere around two hundred unforced errors from a very frustrated David.
His next tournament is now the Copa Claro in Buenos Aires, the draw for which will be pulled tomorrow.



(GettyImages/AP Photo; montage by VD)













In today's quarterfinal, David gets to face an absolute clay-court specialist - Filippo Volandri, 30 years old like David. What Volandri has achieved in his career, he has achieved on clay. Whether the two titles he has managed to win or his biggest ever victory, against Roger Federer at the Rome Masters in 2007. And while he may not be a threat on faster surfaces, on clay he's still capable of playing well.

This will be David's fourth match against Filippo Volandri, and the fourth one that takes place on clay, with the Italian having won two of the previous three. But it's been almost six years since they last met. Volandri, currently ranked #69, has started this season by losing in the first round at four consecutive events. Including his first clay-court tournament this year, Viña del Mar (where he lost to Joao Souza).

What's going to await David in this match is an opponent who knows how to play a typical clay-court game with variety and using of the whole dimensions of the court. So David will have to be prepared to cover some ground. But if he can continue to play and serve the way he did yesterday, he'll have more than a good chance of keeping Volandri on the backfoot.

São Paulo R2: Easier Than Expected - David Beats Simon

(tournament website)
Before this match, David said that it was going to be a nice one - he proved himself right. And unlike his previous encounters with Gilles Simon, it also turned out to be a short one: After only 68 minutes David sealed a straightforward 6-3, 6-2 victory. Against a Gilles Simon, who never found his way into this match, David saved all five break points that he faced, while breaking serve altogether four times. In the quarterfinal today, David's next opponent is now clay specialist Filippo Volandri.

Unlike with his topsy-turvy victory over Benoit Paire in the first round, David remained in control of proceedings throughout the match. Profiting from Simon's low percentage of first serves (especially in the first set) as well as from the many unforced errors that Simon committed. Also contrary to the match against Paire, this time the two sets unfolded rather similarly. In both sets, David was able to get an early break, for 2-1 in the first, and for 3-1 in the second set. In each of the two sets David played one poor service game but this time he managed to fend off all of the break points he faced, able to rely on his first serve in those moments (coming back from 15-40 at 4-3 in the first and from 0-40 at 3-1 in the second set). And also in both sets, David then broke serve again, to take the set and eventually, the match.

In short, David was the better and far more solid player, with especially his serve performance much improved, compared to the first round. Before the match, there was a question mark, concerning David's physical state. But he seemed to have recovered from his long match against Paire and that this match only lasted little more than an hour will have surely helped. Whether David will be able to build on this good result we'll see tonight, when it's time for the quarterfinal.

(- That's the short version. I'm ill so bear with me...)

(tournament website)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

São Paulo R2 - David vs Gilles Simon















Update
I was expecting a long match and a tough test for David but in the end, it was all over after only 68 minutes. That was all it took David to beat Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-2.
In the quarterfinal tomorrow he will now meet Filippo Volandri (match record 2-1 for the Italian).
Report and photos tomorrow...


(Getty Images; montage by VD)














11pm local - David's match will now soon begin. At last...

In today's second round David gets to face another player from France. Only that this time it's the second seed at this event, Gilles Simon. If their two encounters so far are anything to go by then this match could go the distance and involve lots of protracted baseline rallies. But whether David will be up to this kind of test today, especially physically - that is the question.

Playing his first ever Golden Swing, Gilles Simon (ranked #12), has had a good start into this season, with two semifinal appearances (at Brisbane and Montpellier), though at the Australian Open he already went out in the second round. For Simon, it's the first clay-court event of the year but even if his most memorable matches took place on hardcourt, he has altogether four clay-court titles to his name.

This is going to be the third meeting between David Gilles Simon. Both of the previous two took place in 2010 and on hardcourt. In the quarterfinal at Washington, on his way to the title, David prevailed after dropping the first set. Around three months later, in the second round at Montpellier, he served for the match in the second set before eventually losing in three. Both of these matches saw various breaks of serve, as well as plenty of long rallies. And chances are that this will be a very tough match for David. But he seems optimistic:
It's going to be another nice match. We know each other well.
(Source.)

São Paulo R1: David Fights Through

(tournament website)



Usually, there's a fierce rivalry between Argentina and Brazil (especially when it comes to football). But last night, playing his first match in Brazil in more than a decade and eventually beating Benoit Paire after an hour and 39 minutes of ups and downs and many missed chances, the one thing David could rely on throughout was the São Paulo crowd, which was firmly on his side.
I was very nice to have the support of the crowd. I felt at home. I started playing very well but then I made things difficult for myself.
It's the first time in his career that David is playing a tournament directly after a Davis Cup weekend and one that, as he admitted, left him exhausted. Still, David was off to a bright start in this match. Attacking Paire's second serve, David broke in the very first game and then, after a shaky hold for 3-1, managed to go up a double break and 5-1. Paire, now serving to stay in the set, went down 0-40. At that moment, winning this set seemed merely a formality. But it was also at that very moment that David's game fell apart. Seven wasted set points, two re-breaks and a set point for Paire that David saved later, the first set went to a tiebreak. And after racing to a 6-1 lead, David eventually converted his altogether tenth set point to take the first set 7-6(3).

At the start of the second set, David dropped his serve again, this time on a double fault (his reaction here). And at 3-1 for Paire, he found himself on the verge of going down a double break. But once again, things took a different turn:
In the second set I was down 1-3 and 0-40. I think that was the key moment, when I managed to turn around that situation and was then able to go on and win the match. (Source.)
Having saved those break points, David broke back in the following game to level the score at 3-3 before at 4-3, it was Paire's turn to drop serve on a double fault, granting David the chance to serve for the match. And this time, after all the drama and the missed chances of the first set, David converted his first match point, 6-3.

(tournament website)
What exactly happened at 5-1 in the first set - I'm not entirely sure David knows, himself. It was as
if from one moment to the next he realised that
by all rights he should be tired. But although he looked flat and tired during the following games and then again in the early stages of the second set, and although Paire did his best to make him run by constantly playing drop-shots - David
fought on. Knowing, it seemed, that if he found a way of getting through those rough patches, he'd still win this match. And that's what he did.
It may not have been a great match and squandering that many chances is something, even by David's lofty standards. But the good
thing that can be taken from this match is the
fight that David put up and the way he managed
to turn things around again in both sets.
How much this has cost him physically - tonight's match against Gilles Simon will give the answer.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

São Paulo R1 - David vs Benoit Paire















Update
For the first twenty minutes or so, it looked like this would be a very easy victory for David. And it ended with a victory for him but it wasn't an easy one. After an hour an 39 minutes, after having been up 5-1 in the first set and then failed to convert altogether 9 set points, and after having been down a break in the second set, David eventually prevailed. How much of a toll this match has taken on him we'll find out when he gets to face Gilles Simon in the second round tomorrow.

Report and photos coming tomorrow.


(Getty Images; montage by VD)














Today, it's back to playing on the Tour for David - at an event that's new and unusual, and not only for him. After eleven years in Costa do Sauipe, the Brasil Open have been relocated to São Paulo. And this new version is now the only tournament on the whole ATP Tour to be held on indoor clay. Also new for David will be his opponent in his first-round match today.

This opponent is 22-year-old Benoit Paire, who's currently ranked #98 (with his best ranking so far having been #84 earlier this year - exactly where David is ranked now). Paire mostly plays Challengers, occasionally qualifying for ATP-level events, with his best result having come at the start of this season when he made his way from qualifying through to the quarterfinal at Auckland. In general, Paire seems to prefer playing on hardcourt and the stats show him to be a fairly strong (though inconsistent) server, which is not really a surprise, given that he's 6'5"/1.96m tall.

As Krystle has mentioned before, Benoit Paire enjoys a kind of double-edged reputation, for being able to play very entertaining tennis but at the same time also for being highly inconsistent and erratic. As David has never played against him before he'll probably need a while to see who and what he's dealing with, as well as to get used to the conditions and the surface. But David is optimistic:
He's a tough opponent but I have to focus on my game. I think that if I feel good I'll have a good chance to win. (Source.)
(tournament website)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Davis Cup Epilogue & An Interview


Before from tomorrow on it'll be all about the tournament David is playing this week, the revamped Brasil Open now taking place in São Paulo (Edit: a first pic of David in Brazil), here's a last look back at the Davis Cup weekend and Argentina's first-round victory over Germany. In David's words:
Playing nine sets in two days is a lot. In the end, I felt the kind of discomfort and fatigue that's normal for this situation. If I had won in straight sets those two days would've been shorter and easier. But sometimes things don't work out the way you want and you have to fight and run a little more. And I'm prepared to fight and suffer for a few hours. But now I'm happy and glad to have won. (Source.)
(AAT)
This victory grants the Argentine team a place in the quarterfinal (April 6-8) where they will meet Croatia (who beat Japan 3-2).
A home tie for Argentina and one that will, of course, take place at the Parque Roca in Buenos Aires. In fact, it could be the first in a whole series of home ties for David and the team as Argentina will play at home against all other nations that are still left in the draw.
But first of all - Croatia and the quarterfinal, which will take place after the Masters in Miami:
Q: What do you think the tie against Croatia will be like?

David: Far away. Right now, we're still here, after a tie that went very well and I think it's still far away. What's important is that we play at home, so the opponent doesn't matter. We have a good draw and we know that we have a strong team, able to win. But we have to play on a slow court. Against Croatia, with all those good servers, you have to play on a surface that's more comfortable for us than it will be for them.

Q: Due to the way the results have turned out, Argentina will play all ties at home, like in 2008. What has to change for the final outcome to be different?

David: We have to win. I don't know, everybody has to do his part and do things the best he can. Each one of us has to try and win those matches he plays. But it's still a long way to go, the year has only just begun and a lot of things can happen.

Q: What were your first impressions of working with Jaite as captain?

David: We had a great ten days, counting in the time we spent in Buenos Aires, I trained very well with him. We got ready to play a great tie and everyone on the team got along with each other very well. We beat a tough opponent and now each of us has to continue with his schedule and his tournament, fighting on the Tour and then be back in Argentina for the second tie [quarterfinal].

Q: The week leading up to the tie, the tension, the matches. Is all of that going to be what you'll miss the most when it's over?

David: Yes, because it's one of the things I enjoy the most.

Q: Despite the tensions?

David: Yes, you miss it. If you didn't like it you wouldn't miss it and the truth is that it's something different and it's very nice to experience it.

Q: With this tie, it was only during the doubles that there was a bit of Davis Cup atmosphere. Is that when you really enjoy yourself?

David: Yeeaah? There wasn't too much of it. The Germans are cold, maybe it's because of the weather, heh. For me, it's good if [the atmosphere] gets heated.

Q: If your dream of winning the Davis Cup becomes reality, is that the moment when you'll hang up your racquet? Would you say, that's it, now I got what I wanted?

David: No, I don't know. It would mean to achieve a goal, a great dream. But that has nothing to do with the Davis Cup. It's not like I'll retire if I win it and if I don't win it I'll keep on playing. Retirement doesn't depend on the Davis Cup but has a lot more to do with physical issues and seeing how I feel. At the end of the year I'm going to see how I am. If I have a good year with continuity and if I'm doing well then it's viable to continue. (Source.)
(Clarin)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Back from Bamberg

(Alex Grimm/Getty Images)
Hi everyone - I'm back from what was not only David's but also my Davis Cup weekend at the Stechert Arena in Bamberg. And what a weekend it has been...
When I checked into the small, family-run hotel where I was staying, I had a little chat with the owner, who turned out to be a fellow tennis fan. So I confessed that the sole reason for my visit to Bamberg was not the German Davis Cup team - but a certain Mr. Nalbandian. And though he was a bit surprised, he agreed that "Nalbandian, well, he is really good..."
- And Davis Cup David was once again really, really good.

It's one thing to report David's Davis Cup shenanigans. But seeing it all live, witnessing the intensity and just how seriously he takes those matches - that's a different story... Well, it definitely was an experience for me. And a perfect start into the new Davis Cup year for David and the rest of the team.

So far, I've only had a brief look around the media sites. But from what I've seen, David was very happy with his performance. And of course he has every reason to be. After spending yesterday courtside for the two dead rubbers, he should now be on his way to São Paulo, where he'll play his first-round match against Benoit Paire on Wednesday. Having successfully defended his Davis Cup ranking points from last year, David's ranking remains to be #84 this week. And plenty of photos from the weekend now on the Photo Page.

(Paul Zimmer/DavisCup.com)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

São Paulo Draw Is Out

It hasn't been long since Davis Cup, but the São Paulo draw is out already.

Tough draw for David, drawing Gilles Simon in the second round.

In the first round, David plays against Benoit Paire, who is apparently quite unpredictable, inconsistent and entertaining at times from what I've read on message boards. Though I watched him at the Australian Open against Wawrinka and he just made a massive amount of unforced errors (though might have been having some physical problems in the match).

[1] ALMAGRO, Nicolas vs BYE
SOUZA, Joao BRA vs HANESCU, Victor ROU
STARACE, Potito ITA vs QUALIFIER
PRODON, Eric FRA vs [5] BERLOCQ, Carlos ARG

[3] VERDASCO, Fernando ESP vs BYE
MARTI, Javier ESP vs GIL, Frederico POR
GONZALEZ, Fernando CHI vs QUALIFIER
GIRALDO, Santiago COL vs [8] RAMOS, Albert ESP

[6] FERRERO, Juan Carlos ESP vs MAYER, Leonardo ARG
KAVCIC, Blaz SLO vs QUALIFIER
MELLO, Ricardo BRA vs RIBA, Pere ESP
BYE vs [4] BELLUCCI, Thomaz BRA

MONTANES, Albert ESP vs [7] VOLANDRI, Filippo ITA
QUALIFIER vs MACHADO, Rui POR
NALBANDIAN, David ARG vs PAIRE, Benoit FRA
BYE vs SIMON, Gilles [2] FRA

Davis Cup R1 - Argentina Wrap Up The Tie

Nalbandian/Schwank def. Haas/Petzschner 3-6 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-4

It could have been a difficult tie on paper, but in the end, Argentina have wrapped it up at the end of the second day, with David/Schwank staging an impressive comeback against Haas/Petzschner from two sets to love to win in five sets.

Source: DavisCup.com (Paul Zimmer)

This is only the second time David and Schwank have partnered up together. This match didn’t appear to have the same energy and inspiration as the Davis Cup final – they really had to battle the whole match. As usual, David started slowly, making poor errors to start with and showing some very slow reflexes at the net. I don’t know how it is that he shows good court sense in singles, but hardly the same in doubles. I guess doubles is a different sport, and one in he is not as familiar with.

Haas and Petzschner had better touch at the net and overall consistency. After being down the initial break in the first set, they were quite dominant in the first set, breaking serve twice. It was a slow and gradual improvement from the Argentine team. Fewer stupid errors from David, and at times Haas/Petzschner showed weakness in not being that much of a team, or awareness of where each other were in the court.

I didn’t get the impression that David and Schwank were that dominant in the last few sets. They had long and challenging rallies, but now David and Schwank were able to hit good groundstrokes at the volleyer’s feet, and returning serve much better. Schwank is an excellent addition to the Davis Cup team in doubles. In the past few years, David struggled with more inconsistent players like Acasuso and Calleri (they also had slower reflexes). In the fifth set, there was a controversy with one of Schwank's serve which was called as an ace, and the umpire checked the mark, but Haas and Petzschner weren't happy with the call or the interpretation of the mark. The crowd ended up booing for quite an extended period of time, but the Argentine team were able to remain composed and win on match point.

So Martin Jaite’s gamble ended up paying off, though it easily could have backfired. The way the first two sets went and watching David’s poor performance early on, it seemed like a complete waste. But now they find themselves in a far more comfortable situation than what could have been – the tie done and dusted in two days, rather than potentially battling it out in a fifth rubber. Though I would have favoured David over Haas in a fifth rubber, more so than in this doubles. Hopefully Jaite doesn’t see this as a successful strategy worth copying on other ties. Only time will tell.

To listen to David's interview on the Davis Cup website, go here.

Davis Cup R1 - Surprise! David plays doubles

Source: DavisCup.com (Paul Zimmer)

Update: Argentina have wrapped up the tie now 3-0. David/Schwank made a two sets to love comeback to defeat Haas/Petzschner: 3-6 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-4. More to come soon.

There was a last minute line-up change.

It is now Nalbandian/Schwank vs Haas/Petzschner.  It looks like the Argentine team are taking this doubles match seriously, even though they are up 2-0.

I would have thought that David was past that stage of his career where he plays singles on the opening day, then doubles the next, but clearly Martin Jaite does things differently to Tito Vazquez.

Davis Cup R1 – Day 1 Review

David Nalbandian def. Florian Mayer 2-6 6-0 6-1 7-6(5)

Source: Getty Images
Usually there are two versions of David, the one that shows up for Davis Cup, and the regular tour version of David. At the start of the match, it was hard to distinguish between the two versions. David, now wearing the clothing of his new sponsor, Topper was pretty much wearing the Argentine flag on his shirt. But he didn’t appear to be as fired up as he usually is for Davis Cup. It’s a tough adjustment to make from hardcourt and clay, and David appeared to struggle with his movement on the clay on the early stages, as well as with his usual sloppy starts.

Both David and Mayer started slowly. David made several simple mistakes to go down a break of serve. Then he went up 0-30 on Mayer’s serve and had a chance to get it to 0-40 with a volley into the open court. He dumped it into the net, and Mayer went on to hold serve. As the first set went on, Mayer started to swing more freely, playing aggressively on the return of serve, then taking control of the point from there. The first set was soon over in a flash.

David served much better from the second set onwards, or at least every point seemed to start in his favour. Both on serve and on return. Once David went up a break, his game started to hit its peak. That game he played to get a second break was pretty much filled with perfectly constructed, accurate groundstrokes. Most of the time, he could pretty much place the ball wherever he wanted it to, and finish off points at the net. I guess it all started with better returning and serving. Somehow David has a knack of being able to sense whenever the right time is to come into the net, on all surfaces, even though the sneak in there must be a completely different move on clay which requires sliding compared to hardcourt for example.

The fourth set took a strange turn. After a slightly lacklustre performance in the second and third sets, Mayer started to utilize the change of paces more which made it far more difficult for David to control the points. The early part of the fourth set was probably the best part of the match, from a competitive point of view. Mayer worked up the crowd after breaking serve early, and continued to try to get them on their side. He played some good tennis for the majority of the fourth set, but in the crucial moment, in the tie-break, David played some great points including a defensive lob winner. David was quite dominant in the tie-break for the most part. He went up 4-0 and had 4 match points, before converting on his match point by hitting an awesome trademark backhand down-the-line winner.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Davis Cup R1 vs Germany - Day 1

Update: David triumphs over Mayer in a strangely topsy-turvy match 2-6 6-0 6-1 7-6(5). Report coming up very soon. It was overall a good performance from David though.

Update: David is on court now.

A bit of a late post, but it won't be long now until David plays his Davis Cup rubber against Florian Mayer.

Monaco is currently up two sets to love against Philipp Petzschner. It is all going according to plan, and in all likelihood, David should be able to play without much pressure.

There wasn't really much of a choice as to what photo I could use, so I went with the team photo.

I'm not really sure whether Mayer is fit enough to perform at his best in this match. He certainly hasn't had a whole lot of match practice this year. We'll just have to wait and see whether it ends up being a tough match or not.

Source: DavisCup.com

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Davis Cup R1 - The Draw

The draw is out for the upcoming Davis Cup tie between Germany and Argentina.

David has been nominated to play against Florian Mayer in the second rubber on Friday.

Probably the most interesting revelation of the draw for me, was that Philipp Petzschner has been chosen to play singles for Germany on the first day. Petzschner has the kind of game which is completely unsuited towards clay, being one of the most impatient players on tour, so Haas must have not been in good enough shape to play.

However, on closer inspection of the draw, it does look like every match will be difficult aside from the first rubber, assuming that if they went to a fifth rubber, Haas would be replacing David.

Philipp Petzschner vs Juan Monaco
These two have never played against one another before. This would certainly be a match-up of contrasting styles. If Petzschner is to have any chance in this match, he will have to serve well, but his serve is likely to be a reduced weapon on the clay. This is probably the rubber that Argentina is most likely to win.

Florian Mayer vs David Nalbandian
Last year, Florian Mayer beat David by sneaking into the net frequently, serving-and-volleying on hardcourt in Shanghai. He took time away from David, and rushed him with sneak approaches. I expect to see a very different match here, on a much slower surface. There will be far more baseline rallies, but Mayer will continue to mix it up by coming into the net, and maybe throwing in some dropshots. There are question marks over Mayer's fitness. David will have more time to set up for his shots and attack here, particularly on the return of serve.

Tommy Haas/Philipp Petzschner vs Juan Ignacio Chela/Eduardo Schwank
This is surely an important match in terms of the overall tie. Chela/Schwank have had some success outside of Davis Cup, but it is a different atmosphere in this competition, so it should be interesting to see how they perform.

Florian Mayer vs Juan Monaco
Mayer has a 5-1 head-to-head record over Monaco, with five of those six matches being played on clay.

Philipp Petzschner vs David Nalbandian
If they go into a fifth rubber, I think they would substitute Petzschner with Haas, who has a better head-to-head record over David (3-0 unbeaten record over David).

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wednesday Training & A Change of Plans


Another day of training on the "very strange" court at the Stechert Arena, and two more pratice sessions for the Argentine team - or rather, for everyone on the Argentine team except David. After practicing with Juan Monaco in the morning (see clip above), David got the afternoon off "to rest". The fact that there haven't been further doubles practices with Eduardo Schwank could be a sign that David is going to play two singles matches, rather than the doubles and a singles. A theory that's now favoured among the Argentine press (i.e. Juan Monaco and David for singles, Juan Ignacio Chela and Eduardo Schwank for the doubles).

Meanwhile, there's been a change of plans - for Patrick Kühnen and the German team. Yesterday, Kühnen still seemed optimistic about Philipp Kohlschreiber's chances of recovering until the weekend. Today, however, Kohlschreiber withdrew from the tie, due to the stomach flu he's still suffering from. Or in the (tweeted) words of his teammate Tommy Haas:
Kohlschreiber not coming to join the team in bamberg, he is sick as a dog. this makes life this weekend a bit harder,feel better kohli
Kühnen will now nominate a replacement player, a choice that has to be made in time for tomorrow's draw ceremony. It is expected that Kühnen will nominate Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, who is in Bamberg and has been training with the team. Whether this means that Tommy Haas is going to be Germany's #2 singles player (as Martin Jaite expects) or whether perhaps also Philipp Petzschner will get to play a singles rubber - we'll see. In any case, Jaite stressed that "we have a lot of respect for the German team, regardless of Kohlschreiber's withdrawal" (source).

Tonight, it's time for the official dinner, which, according to the AAT Twitter, will take place at "a castle". And there are several of those in and around Bamberg.
Edit: Two (rather blurry) photos plus two new, better ones from the dinner on the Photo Page.

Well - and that's it from me, for the moment. Tomorrow, I'll be on my way to Bamberg to see David play live for the first time. I have been waiting for this opportunity for many years and now that I get the chance, I'm going to go to Bamberg not as a blogger - but simply as a fan.
So I'll leave you now in the more than capable hands of Krystle, who will cover the tie for you.

Vamos Argentina & VAMOS DAVID!

(Diego Otero/Clarin)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

First Training at the Stechert Arena & Press Conference


After two days of training in Forchheim for David and the Argentine team, the court at the Stechert Arena in Bamberg was finally ready today. (A clip of the transformation from basketball court to clay court here.) In the morning, David trained with and played points against Juan Ignacio Chela (another clip here). Between the two training sessions, Juan Monaco arrived from Chile and immediately joined the the others for the second practice of the day. During which David also practiced doubles with Eduardo Schwank, renewing the speculations about whether he's going to play two singles rubbers or the doubles and then a singles match on Sunday. Speculations that were not answered during today's press conference and will at the very least continue until the draw ceremony on Thursday.

(AAT)

The German team as well trained at the Stechert Arena and faced the press today, though it did so, short of one member. Philipp Kohlschreiber was absent due to a bout of stomach flu. However, Germany's captain Patrick Kühnen "expects that he'll be fit again on the weekend". Apart from that, Florian Mayer assured the assembled media that he's fit to play (after renewed injury problems last week) but a lot of the media's attention was reserved for Tommy Haas, even though it's not clear yet whether he's going to play.

Finally, here's David, talking to Danny Miche and other members of the Argentine press after the official press conference:


Either team can win or lose, they're very evenly matched. Hopefully they'll be able to catch a good start on Friday, that's always very important. So hopefully they can start the weekend well and hopefully they can win but they have the kind of team to achieve that. This tie is extremely important for them because of the Davis Cup calendar this year. If they win this tie they'll be playing at home and that's going to be a big advantage for them. Therefore it's an extremely important tie and he thinks everybody knows that.

Edit: In this clip, also filmed after the press conference, David describes his first impressions of the court, which can be summed up as "very strange", "unlike anything ever experienced before", "with a very low bounce" and "strange to play on". He's also not too sure the German team is happy with it.

More, as in photos from the press conference and perhaps also further clips or news from it, as soon as possible. Or rather - if possible.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday Training

Update (07/02)
Here's a first (rather blurry) look at David, on court at the Stechert Arena:

(AAT)



















There'll be two training session today and the second one will be followed by the traditional Tuesday press conference. More about that tonight.




Today, the Davis Cup team made headlines of a different kind in the Argentine press - because it was -19°C (-2.2°F) outside when they began their first training session of the day... But what better way to warm up than with another round of football tennis.
In the afternoon, Juan Ignacio Chela arrived in Bamberg, after a trip via, as he described it, "auto boat, jet ski, subway, plane, another plane, bus and escalator". Still, barely an hour after his arrival he joined David and Edurado Schwank for the second training session of the day. Juan "Pico" Monaco is expected to join the team tomorrow, after winning the title at Viña del Mar yesterday.

While the Argentine team spent the day in Forchheim, the clay court was prepared at the Stechert Arena in Bamberg (see pic below). And from tomorrow on, both teams will be able to train at the venue.

(AAT)




















Sunday, February 5, 2012

The First Training

Update
Here's a clip of David training today.


Another clip, of the first round of football tennis, here (thanks, Anonymous).

(AAT)



















Today, it was time for the first team practice at the Tennis Arena in Forchheim, the Argentine team's momentary training camp. Or rather, it was the first practice session for David and Eduardo Schwank. They trained for three hours in the afternoon, under the supervision of captain Martin Jaite. Tomorrow, Juan Ignacio Chela will join the team (and Juan Monaco probably the day after that).

(AAT)