Saturday, September 14, 2013

The End of the Davis Cup Road 2013

Halfway through the first set, there was a moment when it looked like the Czech doubles team might be beatable after all. Stepanek seemed to have sprained his ankle and was limping. But it turned out to be nothing - with Stepanek's ankle, as well as with Argentina's chances of averting, or at least delaying defeat.
Berdych and Stepanek secured the expected easy win, without
as much as dropping serve, and with it the third point that grants them, the defending champions, a place in this year's final.
While Horacio and Charly could only admit to having been outplayed. To quote Horacio:
They are a strong team. As the games went by they started to feel comfortable. They played very well. Still, it's been a positive year. To be among the four best [Davis Cup teams] in the world is very good.
Charly thought the same, though he was even more impressed with the Czechs.
We beat Germany and France. Reaching the semifinal wasn't easy. We gave our best. Being among the best four is no mean feat. We didn't play a bad match but we played against a difficult doubles team. I don't recall having ever faced a doubles as powerful as this. All credit to them (Source.)
The Davis Cup year 2013 ends once more in the semifinal, once more against the Czech Republic. And David won't get the chance to play that final he was still dreaming about in the last interview.
But Horacio and Charly are right, it has been a positive year for the Argentine team - even a great one, given the circumstances.

Last December, when Delpo announced that he wouldn't play any ties this year it seemed that Argentina's Davis Cup campaign was doomed to fail before it even began. But what the team lacked in terms of 'starpower' they made up for with the 'enthusiasm, belief and the will to win' Martin Jaite mentioned this weekend - as well as with great team spirit. Without Delpo there were none of the usual atmospheric disturbances. Instead, the team was united in its Davis Cup quest, and also in its quest to prove what they were capable of without Delpo.

In the first round against Germany there was a certain amount of luck involved. Had Kohlschreiber not pulled a muscle on the first day the whole thing could've taken an altogether different turn.
But Kohlschreiber withdrew, David and Horacio sealed Argentina's victory already in doubles and afterwards, when Argentina's place in the World Group had been secured, they all had fun in the locker room, singing contemptuous songs about Delpo.
An all-around success, even if Horacio later had to apologise for his performance in the post-match presser ("From who?").

But the team's masterpiece was the quarterfinal against France. The previous tie in Lyon (semifinal 2010) had been a 0-5 disaster, including some less than savoury antics from David. This one, however, was the exact opposite. Although the underdogs in this tie, together they managed to beat the French team, with each of them contributing his or their point to the victory. Right down to Charly, who won the decisive fifth rubber against Simon on what seemed to be sheer heart and guts and wild determination.
David and Horacio won the doubles once again, a great and not necessarily expected victory over Benneteau and Llodra. After the match was over, a song could suddenly be heard at the Parque Roca. About a certain Gringo from Unquillo, who wasn't going to retire just yet... Usually, when David is moved to tears at the Parque Roca it's either because they're playing the national anthem, or it's because he has just managed injure himself because he's playing even though he's not fit. This time it was different.

But now that Argentina won't be in this year's final, will the Gringo from Unquillo give it another try, next year? Right now, Argentina's future in Davis Cup seems to largely consist of question marks. Will David play another season? Will Jaite still be captain next year? And will Delpo return to the team? There surely are people who know the answers to at least some of these question. Unfortunately, I'm not one of them. We can, and this part might sound familiar, only wait and see.


  1. Glad Horacio and Leo won their rubbers and at least on paper made the final score look respectable..sure the rubbers weren't live, but the wins showed the boys cared..good show, guys.

  2. I hope they're not feeling too down, they've done well and that team spirit they've developed is so good to see. I think Charly has been a good addition to the team late in his career - he might not be one of the best players in the world but it's obvious it means so much to him to play for his country.

    All that being rude about Delpo is a bit naughty, but kind of understandable too.

    Looking forward to next year's draw now. GB is back in the World Group, so it could be Argentina v GB! I'd get a chance to be there (and maybe see David?????) but apart from that I'd really rather that wasn't the draw they get.

    Hopefully we'll get some info on David's thoughts for next year before too long, since the DC 1st round has to be something he has to make up his mind about.

  3. But will it be Jaite he'll need to inform about his decision?
    It's more or less impossible to even just speculate about next year because there simply are too many unknowns, too many variables.

    What the tie has shown quite clearly is that if Argentina wants a shot at winning DC there's no way around getting Delpo back on the team. And Horacio thinks they should sit down together and talk. But Charly thinks they need to keep up the same spirit and commitment to the DC cause - making it sound like that would be difficult to do with Delpo around...
    - I don't know what's going to happen, I honestly don't.