Tuesday, April 9, 2013

An Epilogue to a Momentous Victory...




(Lorena Lucca/Olé)
Update
Confirmation of what was at stake in this tie: In a radio interview today, vice-captain Mariano Zabaleta revealed that had Argentina lost to France "it would've been the end, David would have retired". But now his goal is to "train and see if he might play a singles and the doubles" in the semifinal. At the same time, I guess we know now what's going to happen if they lose.
Zabaleta didn't say anything about playing tournaments as part of David's plans. We'll have to wait and see.


Yesterday, on the day after a crazy, emotional, nerve-wracking and simply amazing weekend the team, or at least some of its members, went their different ways again. Pico got on a plane to Houston, where he'll try to defend his title this week. Charly, Horacio and Martin Jaite appeared on the TV show Pura Quimica, together with Mariano Zabaleta, who's one of the hosts. Whereas David did what he does when he really needs a break, he went fishing. And he'll be gone at least for a week (source).
In the meantime, his agent Carlos Costa is in the middle of negotiating wildcards for David for the European clay-court swing. So far, there's no news about where he'll get one, and what this next part of the season will look like for David is still a mystery right now. But I'll do my best to keep you posted.

Back to last weekend. And back to Argentina's first ever victory over France - that did come as a surprise, as Martin Jaite admitted afterwards. On paper, France was the heavy favourite, going into the tie. But as David kept saying ahead of the weekend, "anything can happen". - Especially at the Parque Roca.
Once again, part of the victory belonged to the Argentine fans. Vocal, creative and indefatigable as always, they supported and spurred on their players. Some may criticise the "footballisation" of the Davis Cup. But for my part, I really like the chants and the raucous atmosphere. And it helped the team.

(AAT)
"We won the tie as a team, all points were equally important," to quote Martin Jaite. Everyone contributed to the victory, and everyone had their moment of glory. On Friday, Pico won the crucial first point for Argentina, to keep the tie open. On Saturday, David and Horacio pulled off another miracle by prevailing in the doubles, to get Argentina in the lead. And on Sunday, it was Charly who sealed the victory for his team in the fifth rubber, by winning the biggest match of his life. "You wouldn't believe how scared I was before I entered the stadium," he said afterwards, "or the tension that was there throughout the match." But Charly rose to the occasion and was rewarded for the heart and the guts he has shown in all of his Davis Cup matches. They won the tie as a team - and just like in the first round they really were a team.

(DyN)
For David, it was Davis Cup tie number 26. And the doubles was the altogether 50th match that he has played now since his very first, all the way back in 2002. Back then, in the semifinal against Russia, David's Davis Cup career began with a doubles rubber. Now, eleven years later, he's back to playing doubles. And only doubles so far this year. A role that David never really wanted but has accepted, under the circumstances. Whether he might play singles again next time will depend on his fitness.
In any case, it's still a special welcome and treatment that "El Rey" David gets at the Parque Roca. Where, with him on the team, Argentina has never lost a tie. "Talismanic" the Davis Cup website called him in one of its articles. "He's treated like a very big star," as the French press noticed.
This match, number 50, could've been the last one. And it would've been a worthy ending for David's Davis Cup career. But now it won't be the end.

(AAT)
 For this was a truly momentous victory - in more than one way. "Argentina's victory over France extends Nalbandian's tennis career at the least until September," to quote Danny Miche. Because now the "Gringo from Unquillo" can't retire just yet, as the crowd and the team all sang together for him after he and Horacio had won the doubles. Now there's still something to play for and to look forward to - the Davis Cup semifinal in September.

It'll probably take place in Prague, that still has to be confirmed. What doesn't need to be confirmed, however, because it's clear anyway, is that Delpo won't be joining the others for this tie. He made sure to congratulate Charly and "the rest of the team" via his Twitter. But his position concerning the Davis Cup remains unchanged - outside of the team. And while it is difficult to imagine how he might fit in with the team as it is now, in the semifinal, far away from the Parque Roca and playing on a fast indoor hardcourt, his absence will be felt more than ever before.

Finally, in case you missed it because the French coverage cut away too quickly, here are the last three points of the fifth rubber and the celebrations that followed, as shown on Argentine TV:

19 comments:

  1. Been a great weekend/start of the week: ARG wins their tie and UofL wins NCAA national basketball championship. Lots of celebrating going on over this way!!! On another note: when is little princess actually due?

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  2. First week of June, i.e. during RG, according to Clarin.

    And there's something I wanted to add to the post.
    We've talked about it before, here in the comments. That certain visual similarity between David and Martin Jaite that I can't see but some of you do see. Well, looks like I'm definitely in the minority - see here... :)

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    1. :)) <3
      Julia from Budapest

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    2. Yeah, don't know what's wrong with me... ;)

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  3. Wow....just wow!!! They do look alike, but they are NOT identical!! LOL!!!

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  4. Gosh, Zabaleta's comments are revealing. Didn't know it was that serious. Maybe Tall Boy could do David and Argentina a favor and join the team for a week in September, living in a separate hotel of course so as not to disrupt team chemistry. Fat chance. That can't possibly be Jaite. He has an Armenian nose.

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  5. Well, the whispers I wrote about before were there. I knew it was serious. But I didn't know he would've retired then and there.
    The question for me is what those five months until the SF will look like. Costa in talks about WCs is the older version. Don't know if David's plans have changed by now. Veremos, as he'd say.
    As for Tall Boy - I don't know. Only thing could be the public, putting him under pressure.

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    1. When asked via Twitter whether Nalbandian would be able to play singles in the next DC match, Guillermo Salatino said that Nalbandian was physically "broken" (roto) and that it would be great if he could even play the doubles !

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    2. Yeah, that's what I heard too and posted here. That David was in no condition to play a singles match. And that playing the doubles really was no "punishment" by Jaite or anything.

      In the meantime, and to make things even more bizarre, Danny Miche writes David's spokesman Ballero denies Zabaleta's statements. But the question is why would Zabaleta make up something like that?

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    3. In the end, it's basically just a slightly more drastic version of what was known before and what I've posted before. Namely that this is the final stage and that thanks to this victory David will now continue to play at least until September.
      For the record, there's been no offical denial or anything.

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  6. I don't think Zabaleta would make up something like that-that is, if David himself suggested it. Ballero denying it would indicate, to me, that any such "news" should come from him and not from an "outside source." Hence, the denial.

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  7. Only that news never come from David, himself.

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  8. See Julia, David mistaken by press to be Jaite haha :p they do look alike... on certain angles actually :D (tough to explain as you don't see it lol)

    I don't think Zabaleta would make up such statement, maybe David confided in him but hasn't officially confirmed his plans to Ballero yet, hence the denial.
    But now we can imagine what will happen in September, should they lose.
    Not sure Delpo will be back... the team will need him indoor but... I guess there's no hope :/

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  9. With all due respect for this blog, David was an will be a selfish man. He has the talent nobody had in his generation or even in this new generation of players. How can you retire at 31 when others can play very good tennis at 35, 36? Why?... because he wants to dedicate himself to his family and his life. Ok, I'm fine with that, but I also think that one that was given this kind of talent owes it to himself to make the most out of it. He had problems with injuries, but if he for once took it seriously, it would have been better. Anyway... just makes me angry, because nobody in the world played or plays tennis like he does. It's not just for him to leave us with nothing. Hopefully he can have some good tournaments to understand that he can still do it.

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    1. You can believe me when I say that I'm not happy to see his career coming to its end. But that this was going to happen in the not too distant future has been clear for quite some time now. After all, he already talked about the possibility of retiring last year.
      The point is - it's his life, his career, his decision. Not yours, not mine, not any other player's. We don't know all there is to know about his situation. And I don't think that this decision has been easy for him. But that's the way it is, players have careers. Then at some point they end their careers. And as a fan you have to deal with it.

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  10. Calin, could we PLEASE stop comparing him with other players. Apparently, he's at peace with this stage in his career, and we have to accept that. It's no good wish away could have been or could be. If he doesn't have it left, he doesn't have it left. Move on....

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  11. @Tiffany

    :) you're right, but it's frustrating to see him go away from tennis so early. At some point I think a player gets tired of being on the road all the time. Unless you're very passionate about it and want to prove something (Haas to his daughter) or try to beat some more records (Federer)... I think one would like to just let go of all the sacrifices and inconveniences of travelling all the time. Especially that David will have a child now.
    I just want him to have one last great tournament before he retires.
    Anyway, I will download every matches of him I can find online :D

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