Sunday, February 3, 2013

David is Back & Argentina is in the Quarterfinal

Ahead of the weekend, everybody, including both team captains, expected this to be very close and a dramatic tie that wouldn't be decided before Sunday. But it was all to turn out completely differently and in the end, David and Horacio Zeballos secured the third point for Argentina already in the doubles. Just like last year, by the way, when both teams met in Bamberg, also in the first round.
In the quarterfinal, which will take place after the Masters in Miami, Argentina's next opponent will now be France (who beat Israel 5-0). The last encounter between these two nations took place in the semifinal 2010, held in Lyon. And the less said about that weekend, the better.

But back to this weekend. And the turn of events that no one could foresee - Philipp Kohlschreiber having to pull out due to injury. Davis Cup ties normally don't get decided in the first rubber but in this particular case, you could say that's what happened, with the German team not only losing its best player but also losing hope after his withdrawal. Still, that's not to take anything away from Charly Berlocq and from Pico, who both did an excellent job against difficult opponents, in very difficult conditions. Just like, though they had it easier yesterday, Horacio Zeballos and David.

(AP Photo)
Yesterday's doubles was not only decisive for the outcome of the tie, it was also David's first official match since August 22, 2012. And not surprisingly, those five and a half months without competitive tennis were noticeable.
A bit of general rustiness, a somewhat shaky shot selection - the usual signs of a comeback after a longer pause. Something else that was noticeable is that David has put on a few kilos again. What that means for his movement on court the next few tournaments will have to show.
Still, all in all, and despite a rather wobbly serve performance (which also had to be expected perhaps), it was a good comeback from David, and it was a return in style - scoring the decisive victory.
For my part, I still think that David and Edu Schwank is the best doubles Argentina can muster (Edu was courtside, supporting the team). But if Edu can't play then Horacio is definitely the best alternative.

Here's a clip of David, getting interviewed directly after the match:

He's very happy, they played a great match. It's been a great week with the guys on the team, training together though it was tough because of the heat. But now he's super happy and the support from the crowd is always impressive, it's been an unforgettable week with the guys.
Asked, humorously, whether he'll still be playing in April (i.e.the quarterfinal), David replies he has to ask the captain, who, off camera, says yes. So that's what he'll do, it's a great team they have and hopefully they'll be at their best for the next tie. As for the possibility of facing relegation, he's read a lot about that this week but they've shown that the team that was present is very strong, playing at home and they have great players.

If you think that the last part of the interview contains a hint at a player, who wasn't present, well, then you're right. And that's not the end of it. At the post-match press conference, David, Horacio and Jaite were asked if they had received any personal greetings or congratulations from Delpo (who posted a tweet to that end). Jaite and David said no, Horacio added, "from who? - no" (you can watch that little scene here). Apart from that, in the locker room after the match, the whole team apparently sang a couple of newly made-up songs, celebrating their triumph but also making fun of Delpo, the one who "watched it all on TV" (source). All of which probably doesn't increase the chances of Delpo, returning to the team. Even though Martin Jaite keeps saying that this is what he'd like to see happen.


Last but not at all least, ahead of the match yesterday, five Argentine players received the ITF's Commitment Award for having played 20 or more Davis Cup ties. From left to right with their awards in hand: Ricardo Cano (23 ties), the great Guillermo Vilas (who played a record-breaking 81 matches in 29 ties), David (now at 25 ties), Javier Frana (20 ties) and José Luis Clerc (55 matches in 22 ties).

For David, yesterday's doubles was Davis Cup match number 49. It was the 20th doubles rubber that he played for Argentina, with 7 different partners over the years, and the 15th that he won. Though the most important of them all he lost. Out of the 29 singles rubbers David has played over the years he won 23.
A list that includes matches he should've never played because he was injured but that didn't stop him.
David and the Davis Cup - it's an obsession and sometimes, it's sheer madness. And in his more pensive moments he'll admit as much. But it's also what has kept him going.

(La Nacion)
So that was it, Davis Cup weekend number 25 for David. He's officially back now and the 2013 season has finally begun. And that as well is cause for celebration.
David now gets a week off ahead of playing his first tournament of the season at São Paulo (where he'll play singles and also doubles together with Rafa), before heading back to Buenos Aires for the Copa Claro and then on to Acapulco.
Some busy weeks ahead, for him and for us.


  1. Great Post Julia, from top to bottom, thank you

  2. Would have been better if no one answered questions about Delpo. Hope he can attend the April tie, despite the certain event that will happen around or after that time. You can't predict these things, you know.

  3. I think the best way is to put Pico and David for singles and Schwank (if he's fit again)/ Zeballos for doubles, hoping that France will get annoyed by clay

    Having said that I still can't see Argentina winning the cup without DP even if they beat France (which would already be a miracle given the players each team has to its disposal)

  4. The QF and France, that's still two months away. A lot can happen in two months.
    I'll start thinking about France when IW and Miami are over. And I'll start thinking about the later rounds of DC if they beat France. Which is of course a very big if.

    1. Agreed! There's no use in skipping ahead cuz you never know what's going to happen.

  5. thanks for this post Julia :)
    2 months from now is far away, considering all the stories in this team, Delpo coming back is still a possibility, we never know... And David's baby being born a little earlier than expected, who knows too... the surface against France (they're getting used to love clay...)

    Anyway, that's another story we'll have to wait. I'm happy with the busy weeks coming up on clay for David, it's been a while and I hope he won't be as rusty as this weekend!

    I like the last pic, the champagne looks like tears from David's eyes lol

  6. What did I miss? The baby is due earlier than we thought...???

  7. Anything's possible, Istabraq. They say May, but you never know about these things. Just speculation.

  8. Great post tie report, Julia. To me, the weekend exemplified what Davis Cup is all about - teamwork, grit, camaraderie and patriotism. Love the comments from David, Horacio and Jaite about Delpo. Juan Martin has certainly alienated himself from this group. I know they need him against France, but I don't see how he could show up in April without poisoning the team

  9. Thanks, John. - But why would Delpo want to show up? If there still was something like a theoretical chance (and I don't think there was) then I guess it's gone now.
    The point is, Delpo doesn't need them - they need him. And acting this way, they're only making it easier for him to justify his absence.

  10. True, Delpo doesn't need them. But clearly he has to know his attitude and absence has to cause animosity amongst the boys. And I have to agree with Tiffany, commenting on your post above, that David didn't do anything wrong. Delpo is way too thin skinned as far as I'm concerned.

  11. We agree that they need Delpo. Are the chances of him, joining the team again better or worse now, after this weekend? I mean, they had a great time and the tie went better than anyone would've thought. But none of that will matter anymore if they get crushed by France in the QF.