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:
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):
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:
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.