Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Davis Cup Quarterfinal: Team Nominations Day

With the Davis Cup quarterfinal now ten days away, today is the day that the captains have to officially announce their team nominations. But in the case of this particular quarterfinal tie, both captains have already told the media which players they're planning to field. And it's not like there will be any surprises.

Martin Jaite will stick with the same line-up that scored the 5-0 victory over Germany:
David Nalbandian
Juan Monaco
Carlos Berlocq
Horacio Zeballos

While the new French captain Arnaud Clement will rely on the same players, who beat Israel 5-0 in the first round (with the addition of Gilles Simon, who will also be coming to Buenos Aires):
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Richard Gasquet
Michael Llodra
Julien Benneteau

Argentina and France in pretty much perfect unison, and not just as far as previous results and current nominations are concerned. They also both insist that they're the underdogs and that the pressure and responsibility to win the tie will be firmly on the shoulders of the opponent. "We won't be the favourites," as Horacio puts it, "we'll pass on the pressure to the other team". And going by the sheer numbers, the situation is quite clear:
We are not in the best shape. And as who's the favourite is determined by the rankings and hierarchy, right now they're much stronger than we are.
But the Davis Cup follows its own rules, and the matches still have to be played, as David reminds us.
Our approach has always been the same: to play all the matches, even more so if it's a tough tie. Because anything can happen.
And after all, there is a factor that will work in their favour - the Parque Roca. In Charly's words:
I always have faith in the home advantage, because it's very important. The crowd really makes you feel it.

Apart from that it's not just the Argentine fans that the French team will be confronted with at the Parque Roca. Their claim to fame as underdogs also rests on having to play on a surface that the French players (none of whom took part in the Golden Swing) haven't contested any matches on since last summer. In the words of Richard Gasquet:
We haven't played on clay in a long time and Argentina is strong on that surface. (Source.)
And the Argentine players, due to their early exits at Miami, will have more time to adjust to clay ahead of the tie, as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Edit: who, unlike Gasquet, is now no longer in the draw) is well aware:
For the Davis Cup I think it's going to be something positive for them because they will practice on clay and they will get used to it. I didn't play on clay since Roland Garros last year, so it's going to be tough, you know, to get used to it.
So in Tsonga's opinion, the Argentine team will be the favourite. Only that the team won't look like he apparently expects it to...
I think we are not favorite for the moment. I mean, you still have Del Potro who's got a better ranking than me. You still have Nalbandian who won, you know, some big tournament in the past. When you have a champion like this, you know, it stay forever. So I think for one match, you know, is very dangerous.  And then you have some guys who are very, how I say that, angry, like Berlocq, I'm sure, to fight for their country. (Source.)
I guess the word he was looking for was 'passionate' or 'intense'. But Delpo won't be part of the team, of course and David will almost certainly not play singles. Though he won some big tournament in the past and will forever stay a champion...

I think beyond all games and tactics, Pico summed it up perfectly:
We must look forward to the tie and believe in ourselves and in our chances. (Source.)

Finally, and on an altogether less serious note:

In the meantime (don't ask me when exactly) the final of the Copa David took place. With the two Davids, Nalbandian and Trezeguet, playing against "Los Picantes", the team that won the qualification tournament - and eventually also the Copa David.
It looks like everybody involved had a great time and apparently, the two Davids got along very well and have become friends.

A gallery with photos from the final you can view here.


  1. Haha, I love Jo-W's wording. I assume he was speaking in English, and David's "some big tournament" was meant to be plural. Facing Angry Charly with a matching angry crowd...

    I hadn't realised that about the clay factor - every little helps. I still think France are big favourites in the singles, and while David & Horace are a great doubles pair, France is one of the strongest nations in doubles (all four DC players won Olympic doubles medals!!!). French players can be a bit flaky though - so bring on that Parque Roca crowd and "our" players with passion. :)

  2. I gather Delpo is injured, so annoying as it is that he ruled himself out of DC for the year, it might have felt worse just now if Argentina had been relying on him for this tie and he'd had to pull out now.

    1. Difficult to say how bad or not bad his wrist really is. But as for his loss to Kamke, Delpo apparently got some bad family news (illness) during the rain delay. He flew home immediately after the match.

      As for JoWi, well, I'm guessing here but I think he meant what he said about David in a more general way. As in, he did some great things in the past and that makes him a champion. Also now, when things aren't going so great.
      Anyway, we'll see if the Parque Roca will make an impression on the French players. I'm sure it's going to be a much bigger crowd again, this time. :)

  3. hahaha Tsonga's words : "angry like Berlocq" hahaha it's funny, I can imagine he was thinking in French while speaking English (I have the same problem sometimes as French is my native language too)
    he meant "intense", yeah that's the word Julia :)

    France is the favourite in this tie but playing at home can help "our" team :)

    and yaaaaay thanks for the photo gallery link, really nice pics <3 and there are videos too on the same page :)

  4. More videos you'll find here. (I didn't post all of them on VD.) And yeah, JoWi didn't quite find the right word there. ;) But I thought it was nice what he said about David. :)

    For the record: The nominations have been officially confirmed by now. And just like ahead of the first round, Leo Mayer and Guido Pella will train with the team.