Fresh in from the draw ceremony at the Usina del Arte, here's the draw and with it the order of play.
Not suprisingly perhaps (as he wasn't able to train much all week) Richard Gasquet won't be taking part
in this tie, after all. Instead, Gilles Simon will be the second singles player for the French team.
So here's what's ahead this weekend:
Friday (10.30am local/2.30pm GMT/9.30am EST)
Carlos Berlocq vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
The Davis Cup weekend starts with a premiere: These two have never met before. "I don't know a lot about him because I never play against him in the past," Tsonga admits. And perhaps that's not the worst starting point for Charly - no experiences to go by but also no bad memories. In any case, the pressure will be immense, as he's "aware of the importance of this match, of this tie, and also of the fact that Argentina has never managed to beat France before." Which is, unfortunately, true.
Juan Monaco vs Gilles Simon
These two on the other hand have not only met five times before (Simon leads 3-2 while Pico won their last encounter), they've also known each other since junor days. "Since I was 14," to quote Simon. And Pico expects a battle. "We play like for two, three hours every match we play, so it's going to be a difficult match for sure. And I have to ready to fight tomorrow."
David Nalbandian & Horacio Zeballos vs
Julien Benneteau & Michael Llodra
In Davis Cup, not too many nations have a fixed doubles team that consists of two experts. France, however, is one of them. For Benneteau and Llodra this is the fourth season as the French Davis Cup doubles. For David and Horacio it'll be the third doubles match together and the biggest challenge so far. "They play very well so we'll have to be at our best to have a chance" - in David's words. Who also explained that this tie is completely different and cannot possibly be compared to the last one between Argentina and France. - Well, hopefully not.
(Quotes from audio clips here and here.)
Sunday (10.30am local/2.30pm GMTT/9.30am EST)
Juan Monaco vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
They've met three times, two of those matches took place on clay, and on all three occasions Tsonga was the winner in the end. Though their encounters on clay were at least much closer than on hardcourt.
Still - this will be a very difficult match for Pico.
Carlos Berlocq vs Gilles Simon
If this match comes to pass then it'll be their seventh encounter. All but one of the previous six took place on clay and it's Simon, who leads 4-2 in terms of the overall record. But the two wins Charly managed to get against him are both from last year, when he won two of the three times they met.
- But if it does come down to a live fifth rubber Martin Jaite could also decide to replace Charly with Horacio Zeballos. Or even with David? At the first press conference a couple of days ago, the answer to that question was still a pretty clear "no". After today's ceremony, it sounded like this. "On Sunday, we'll see who's in the best shape." (Source.)
"Without optimism and confidence we're not going to get anywhere," as David reminded everyone (and perhaps also himself) after the ceremony today. "We have to be ready to fight. Anything can happen." (Source.)
Finally, a few words about the weather in Buenos Aires. The worst of it is apparently over but the flooding caused by the torrential rains has claimed nearly 60 lives in Buenos Aires and La Plata. The tie will take place but at the ceremony today, David and the team called on those who will come to the Parque Roca to bring "water, clothes, anything that might be of help" as donations for those affected by the flooding.