Wednesday, October 2, 2013

"I don't have any plan" - The Day after David Retired

(Gustavo Garello/Clarin)

David's press conference yesterday had been over for merely an hour or two when the first articles appeared in the Argentine press. Articles that looked back at his career, at the titles he won and the most dramatic matches he played, at his Davis Cup triumphs and also at the drama with Delpo. All of them prepared for that particular day - that was yesterday.
I didn't prepare anything, although I knew what was bound to happen sooner or later. And I don't really know yet what the coming weeks and months will look like here on Vamos David.

But for the moment, here's an interview that David gave Sebastián Torok for La Nacion yesterday, apparently after the press conference part. And after announcing a decision that he didn't even tell his family about beforehand (as he told Torok).
Q: When you had surgery in May did you think that this would be decisive for your career or that you might still be able to recover from it?

David: No, no. I was hoping to return because the tests didn't show the injury to be as serious as they realised it was when they opened me up. When the surgery was over the doctors told me that I was much more badly injured that they had expected. It's true, after that doubts arose about returning to the Tour. But before that I could no longer play. The pain I had was infernal. I couldn't train, my shoulder hurt all the time but the hope that I might be able to return was still there. And then it got complicated.

Q: Considering the draw for the Davis Cup 2014 [home tie for Argentina against Italy] some thought that you might retire there. Or maybe in February, at the Copa Claro.

David: No. The thing is that I'm perfectly fine, playing from the baseline. But the problems start when I serve. My shoulder will act up after only a short time and that's why I can't make any plans to play the tournament in Buenos Aires. The shoulder doesn't allow demanding training. Today I might be fine and then tomorrow I can't even lift my arm. February is too far away. If it was up to me I'd keep playing Davis Cup, also without a ranking, but I can't go on court giving [my opponents] so many advantages.

Q: How much of an influence has your daughter been for arriving at this decision?

David: Aheeem.... Actually not that much because if I could go on playing, I would. Obviously, I stay home now instead of going to the movies, I stay with her. But if I could keep playing and competing I'd do a little more of that. For the moment I continue my rehabilitation because I want to have a good farewell in front of the people and I hope that they will join me.

Q: What do you think is your legacy?

David: I don't know. You'd have to ask the guys about that, the youngest ones. But hopefully it's the best one, that they start playing tennis, doing sports, making an effort, trying to improve. I hope it'll be that. And the people? I hope they'll have good memories of me, or the best possible ones. But I don't know what's going to happen. Hopefully [the memories] will be good ones, of a guy who gave everything he could, every Davis Cup week.

Q: You were the last active member of La Legion. How would you describe this phenomenon that lasted over a decade?

David: I've never thought about being the last. I think about it from the perspective of having been part of a spectacular group of players, because there were actually different groups, that over the course of ten or twelve years achieved lots of things, we made headlines in world tennis. It'll be very difficult to repeat. It was great to have elevated Argentine tennis to this kind of level. I think it was a generation of players that brought tennis back to the people. Tennis has become very popular again [in Argentina] and I hope that I have contributed something to that.

Q: A lot of people think that in 2006 you could've been number one. What was missing?

David: I've had the fortune and the misfortune to meet basically two of the best tennis players of all time. That's how I'll summarise it for you, short and to the point. For me, it's about Federer and Nadal. Roger broke all the records and Rafa is on the brink of doing it. To have shared that great era with them, to have won, lost and to have been at that kind of level has been an honour.

Q: You've had a staggering career and you've also had some interests that other professional tennis players would perhaps not choose to pursue. Do you think at some point you might have neglected your physical fitness?

David: Many of those things, like bungee jumping, I did because of philosophy of life, personality or style. You live life only once and there's far more to it than tennis, or journalism, or whatever. People are the way they are and enjoy what they enjoy. At each of those stages that was what gave me air to breathe or what kept me grounded so I'd be able to keep up a good level on the Tour. Whether it was swimming, car racing or whatever. I like those kinds of sports, they allow me to breathe so I can return to competing with my batteries recharged. The tennis circuit is tough and you need mental breaks. If the same opportunity presented itself to me today I'd do it again. If I hadn't done it I would've retired earlier because of my head, no doubt about that.

Q: Do you have any regrets? Do you criticise yourself for things you have done and that have affected you or the Davis Cup team?

David: Everybody criticises themselves because if you go to bed 100% satisfied then that's not really normal. I keep these things to myself. I think that you get drawn into a huge maelstrom. In any case, I don't regret the things I have done.

Q: What will you miss?

David: Watching the video screens [at the press conference], what made me tear up were those Davis Cup images. The Davis Cup is a thorn in my side that I couldn't get rid of. We only needed to win three points, nothing more than just that. We got very close. We had a series of good performances in the last decade and the closest one was Mar del Plata. It's the only trophy we couldn't bring home to Argentina.

Q: What are you going to do in the future?

David: I don't have any plan. It's still too recent and tough to think about in the coming months.

P.S. For those of you who want to have a look at how it happened yesterday:


  1. What a lovely interview - I think he gave great answers to everything. A shame that they still had to bring out the old question about his physical fitness. But he gave a good answer to that too.

    The bit about his shoulder injury being much worse than tests had shown is interesting. From my memory, wasn't David playing polo shortly before the surgery? It seemed strange at the time, but maybe he really didn't think it was that serious. Though serious enough for surgery, of course.

  2. He did play polo a few days before surgery. I don't know what he was thinking back then but it makes me think the pain probably wasn't infernal all the time.
    As far as I know the shoulder injury first appeared ahead of the DC QF. But there was also the hip injury that required surgery. And when and where that one first appeared is anyone's guess.

  3. One of the best of the tennis history... his tennis was amazing. .. thanks David from Rome Italy