Thursday, January 3, 2013

Davis Cup Drama - Deluxe Edition (without David)


Back in November, when asked about the future of the Argentine Davis Cup team, Pico said he couldn't imagine the team without Delpo, its #1 (source). But now he and the others will have to get used to the thought since Delpo has decided not to play any Davis Cup ties this year. A decision that he announced in the course of a public dispute between him and captain Martin Jaite.

But before I get to that - there's more bad news for Jaite, David and the team.
(Getty Images)
Yesterday was supposed to be the day that David and Edu Schwank would take up training together in Villa Allende. Instead, yesterday ended up being the day that Edu had to have wrist surgery at a clinic in Buenos Aires. The operation, an arthroscopy on his inflamed wrist, was a relatively minor one but he'll still be out for around two months. In other words, he'll miss the tie against Germany and Jaite will have to think of a new doubles.
Apart from that, Leo Mayer has managed to injure his hand in an "accident with pyrotechnics". He's out of Brisbane, in doubt for Melbourne and possibly also for the first-round tie.

Update (05/01)
And the list grows longer: Charly Berlocq has pulled out of Auckland due to a strained thigh muscle, "as a precaution and in order to continue his recovery".

But back to Delpo and Jaite and their dispute. Here's a chronology of events:

Friday, Dec 21
It all begins with a piece of info that, as such, is no surprise: Delpo won't play the first-round tie against Germany. The unusual part, however, is that he has been excluded from the tie by Jaite.
Delpo himself initially dismisses this as hearsay.
They're saying things now but I still haven't spoken with the captain. We'll talk and then the two of us will say something. In the next couple of days, I'm going to meet with him and then we'll decide the [Davis Cup] schedule and what's ahead. (Source.)

Saturday, Dec 22
In an interview, Jaite explains why Delpo is no longer part of his plans for the tie against Germany.
Together with vice-captain Zabaleta, Jaite asked seven players to state until December 10 whether they're available for the first-round tie. Six players said yes (David, Pico, Edu, Charly, Leo Mayer and Horacio Zeballos). As Delpo wanted more time to decide, Jaite gave him until December 20 to make up his mind and reply. But no reply came. At 8pm on the 20th, Jaite left a message, informing Delpo that no reply would be treated like a negative reply. Nothing was heard from Delpo so he was ruled out of the tie.

Wednesday, Dec 26
At a press conference Delpo says that he learned about his exclusion by Jaite from the media since the two of them haven't met and still haven't talked to each other. He adds that he wants to speak with Jaite as he'd like to start the season with all Davis Cup matters settled beforehand.

Thursday, Dec 27
Jaite, on holiday in Uruguay, responds via the media, stressing that Delpo failed to cooperate.
The rules have to be the same for everyone. We were very clear about that. (Source.)

Friday, Dec 28
Delpo announces that he won't be playing any Davis Cup ties this year.
It wasn't an easy decision but I have important goals on the circuit. (Source.)

Saturday, Dec 29
Both Jaite and Zabaleta call Delpo's decision "understandable" and say that it has to be respected. They also both assure Delpo that in case he changes his mind, he'll be welcome and the "doors will be open" for him. All the players, including David, are keeping a complete silence on the matter.
Meanwhile in an interview Delpo talks about his problems with the AAT and its officials. He also insists that his decision against playing Davis Cup is not meant to be forever - only for 2013.

Monday, Dec 31
Delpo makes it clear that he won't change his mind and that for him, the discussion is over.
Not taking part in the upcoming Davis Cup [season], that topic is closed. (Source.)

So the official version is that Delpo wants to focus on the Tour this year and on securing a place among the top players. And that additional Davis Cup duties would lessen his chances of achieving this.
Now, you could argue that those additional Davis Cup duties would merely amount to playing a maximum of two ties during the season (as he won't play in the first round and usually doesn't, anyway; the final takes place after the end of the ATP season). You could also argue that other players, also top players (e.g. Djokovic) gained extra confidence in Davis Cup that proved to be very helpful for them on the Tour.

But if you look at the circumstances then I think it gets rather difficult to see Delpo's decision as a purely strategical one that's not related to Jaite and their obvious differences. Just to remind you, the AAT appointed Jaite (David's coach at Mar del Plata) against Delpo's wishes and without consulting him.
Still, the new arrangement seemed to work - until the whole thing blew up during last year's semifinal.
Afterwards, Jaite and the AAT offered to have the first-round tie played on hardcourt for Delpo's sake. Making things easier for him and yet at the same time more difficult by removing his standard reason for not playing in the first round, namely having to switch surfaces. Delpo reacted with silence, and an angry Jaite eventually decided together with the other players to play the tie on clay.

It's impossible to know who put in how much of an effort to reach (or avoid) who in this case. Though once again, the same old mistake was made of communicating via the media instead of talking face to face.
I don't think Delpo knew from the start that he wasn't going to play any ties this year. In the early stages of the dispute (practically until two days before he announced his decision) there's nothing to suggest that he had such intentions. Therefore it seems more like a reaction than a previously laid plan. Another reason why it's difficult to see Delpo's decision as unrelated to Jaite, just like that it's supposed to concern this year only. Jaite's contract as captain ends after this season and Guillermo Vilas is already positioning himself as his successor (supported now also by his former arch-enemy José Luis Clerc). Apart from that, this is probably also David's last year. So in 2014, Delpo could return to a team that's very different from what it is now.

At the end of the day, we can only speculate about the motives and the exact workings behind all this. But what's clear is that the Argentine team will have to make do without its best player. And how far David, Pico and the others can get without Delpo, well, that remains to be seen. Should they lose to Germany in the first round it'll be the World Group Play-offs for Argentina in September. Would Delpo make an exception in that case? Your guess is as good as mine.



  1. Very very interesting cheers for that. I think it's to do with his relationship with jaite mostly and maybe partly dueto nalby. 1 law I'd always abide to is u should never back down on ur country whatever circumstance but delpo's reasons are not good enough. Losin respect for the guy. Needs to go back to basics. Its gunna be v tough without him, leaving david in a tough situation. If he doesn't win it this year will he try again? But also u don't know if delpo is guNna play the year after even if he does which is unlikely at this stage. Hope delpotro could at least come in if they rreach qf or semi

  2. That's what he said he won't do, not this year. I mean, if David and the others make it past Germany then chances are they'll meet France in the QF. Really not an easy task, also not at the Parque Roca. If they don't make it past Germany then Argentina will have to play for a place in the World Group next year. The kind of situation where Fed usually comes in to save Switzerland. Would Delpo help saving Argentina? Who knows.

    As for never backing down on your country, I went to Bamberg for the sole purpose of supporting David and the Argentine players against my country's team. I'm not entirely sure David would understand that but all the fellow Germans I talked to did. Okay, maybe except for the couple seated behind me at the stadium, who were at the same hotel as me and definitely thought I was crazy... ;)
    Anyway, there's still the bronze medal that Delpo won for Argentina at the London Olympics. The official version is that he'll try his best to get to the top because Argentina would love to have a top player again. And after all, he's only taking a break from DC (that happens to coincide with the length of Jaite's contract and what's probably left of David's career). Jaite let it come down to a power struggle - and lost.

    1. Yeh ur right, u never know.. But if he does love his country he would don't u think? To save it.. Hopefully that won't be needed and they can meet go to the quarters and seee how it goes

      Loooool, I get what u mean haha, them proper passionate germans wouldn't have been pelased ;D haha but for me as much as I love david would do anythin for the guy, but if armenia were playing argentina I'd back armenia tho I'd want david to do well lol but that would never happen so wouldn't be a problem

    2. But obvs yeh ur not crazy haha were all on the same boat

    3. But yeh especially this year if my country had met argentina I would want argentina to win for david as its probably his last chance would be gutting if he didn't win it

    4. What I meant is that different countries and cultures have different ideas about patriotism and its importance. In Germany, it's perfectly normal to support the opposing team. No one took offense, also not the couple seated behind me. They were simply shocked/astounded at how passionate I was.

  3. To be honest, with all those complications I don't fancy Argentina's chances! However, there's nothing impossible. It makes me wonder though, would David consider playing another season if they were not successful this year!

    @ Julia at least we don't think you are crazy ;)

    1. Because you'd be doing the same. :)
      I don't know if it'll make him think about playing another season. I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens this year.

    2. I'd totally do the same ;)
      I'd be so disappointed for David if he has to retire without winning the DC but the reality is that the team is not as strong without Delpo and now without Edu. I mean look at what happened to Spain at the final, poor Ferru did his job well but one person isn't enough and they have great players!
      I'd say he has a better chance wining a grandslam than the DC this year and as we all know that's not an easy task! Still I'm going to remain positive and keep hoping. Well, if I aced an exam that I thought I was failing, there's always hope in everything :p

    3. I guess congratulations are in order. :)
      Anyway, R1 against Germany - that's what I'm focusing on. Everything else is still too far away and will depend on the outcome of that tie.
      One player can sometimes be enough to win DC (like Becker, or more recently Ljubicic). But they played on all three days and that's something David can no longer do.
      Of course their chances haven taken a huge hit and it's very difficult to believe they can make it without Delpo. But this is the season I wanted - well, it will be, once it starts for David. And I'm not going to let Delpo's decision ruin it for me. :)

  4. So if they lose against Germany David has to wait at least 2 years for becoming another chance winning the DC, so this year it will probably be his last.
    The only gratifying thing for us about DelPos decision is that at least he told it after the pre-season training so David would not want to say goodbye prematurely after the hard work knowing that the chance for winning the Davis Cup this year is almost over for them :)
    If we look the situation realistic so the best thing that could be for David and especially for us is that they win the first round but lose in the next so that David can hopefully stay healthy and concentrate fully on tour and maybe playing another year after a hopefully succesful season with victories and without injuries. But the chances for that don't look good if we look in the previous 6-7 seasons for David :/
    By the way, your picture choices are glorious Julia! LOL

  5. The World Group Play-offs take place in September. And who wins there gets to stay in the World Group and has another chance next year. But in that case, Argentina's seeding would be gone and the team would face one of the seeded nations in the first round.
    As for the pics, there are far too many photos like that of Jaite and Delpo...

  6. Like the last photo with DelPo in the middle lol

    I still hope that DelPo will change his mind whatever happens after the 1st round tie, but it's unlikely... but I think he wants to avoid being involved with DC team as long as Jaite (and David?) is there.
    The 1st round sounds now more difficult when you see all the guys who are injured. Let's hope we won't have to think about world group play-offs.

    definitely not related to our topic, another "drama" I just saw in my twitter timeline, about Sofia Zamolo, David's "ex girlfriend" (lol). Not sure about the whole article translation, but sounds like she hasn't taken the "David is going to be a daddy" news very well... your thoughts ?

    1. She can't help herself. What is there to say?

  7. He had an affair with her. That was a long time ago. Who cares.
    It's just yellow press blah blah.

  8. Sorry to chime in everyone, but I'll keep it brief: Sofia needs to get a life...really. I'm sure David and Victoria are laughing their heads off about this latest attempt by Ms. Z to stay relevant.

  9. She didn't do or say anything. It's just yellow press blah blah.

  10. Probably...but I put nothing past her since she's done similar things in the past to keep herself and her "career" relevant. But if she's really over him, then she should never have mentioned him AT ALL..not even to the vultures that are the yellow press.

  11. She didn't talk to the yellow press. There are no quotes. The yellow press comes up with stuff like that on a regular basis. There's no point in taking it seriously.

  12. Thanks for this very good insight !
    Zeballos has just won a challenger, he could be at least a good contender for the double, couldn't he ?
    Anyway, Del Po's absence and other players' problems make that Argentina will even more need David for this first tie against Germany.
    On a sidenote, the Australian open is in 6 days and David is not officially out yet. Any news on that ?

  13. Horacio Zeballos would love to play the doubles with David, he keeps telling everyone about it. We'll have to see who plays which rubber but if David plays doubles then it could be with Horacio. After all, it did work really well in Stockholm 2010.
    And yeah, David's name is still on the AO entry list. Though we had that before, saying he wouldn't play and then only withdrawing at the very last minute. But so far, I've seen/heard nothing to suggest a change of mind.
    (And welcome to the comments here on VD. ;)

  14. yes, I liked that Nalby-Zeballos combo from Davis cup 2010 :)
    David has now withdrewn of the Aus open, on the limit time to let Kukushkin get in.

  15. Aparently Pico is injured too, let us hope he can play in Australia and in Davis Cup.

  16. Yeah, I've seen it... Post currently in the making and coming soon.