Sunday, November 24, 2013

David Says Goodbye


He wanted it to be a big party - and that's exactly what it was.
Perhaps the event in Córdoba was a bit more emotional, also because of the video messages from his family and friends.
But David's farewell yesterday was a party, with lots of joking and laughter and general mayhem. And only at the very end of the event the moment came for a bit of wistfulness and melancholy, when for one last time, David addressed the crowd.
I guess he wanted it that way.
But - from the start.

(Nicolas Stulberg/Infobae)
After both David and Rafa had entered the stadium to standing ovations from the crowd, the match itself was played a bit more seriously than the previous two. But there were several nice and entertaining rallies and a couple of occasions where David managed to outplay the world #1. Like when David managed to catch him totally off guard with a drop-shot/lob combination.
As Rafa said before the match, "he makes the most difficult things in tennis look very easy."

Though they played more in earnest than before there was of course room for a bit of banter and joking. And at some point David recruited a very young linesman to play in his stead. Perhaps only half-jokingly as this match must have cost an awful lot of strength. In the end, after plenty of good points, Rafa served for it at 6-4, 5-3. And after David saved two match points, Rafa converted the third.
And it was over.
The last match.
And David's career.
But then, probably also to keep that moment from getting too emotional or sad, matters suddenly took a different and rather unexpected turn.
In the form of the "medico", who appeared on court to have a look at him:

The set of doubles that followed, David & Pico (Argentina) versus Rafa & Nole (Rest of the World), unfortunately wasn't part of the coverage on our streams. And clips from it are scarce (there's this one and this one but that seems to be it).
But from what I've been able to gather it must have been quite a spectacle, with Rafa and Nole imitating the Bryan twins and Nole throwing in an impersonation of Maria Sharapova.
But all good things must end, as they say. And so the moment came that David might have been dreading at least a little bit.
His last goodbye to the crowd.
Here's that particular moment and his speech:

On this "extremely important day" he thanked the people for their support that he "always felt and had". He thanked them for the "happiness" they gave him and for those "great moments", when they supported him, enjoyed his matches but also suffered with him. "For a tennis player the best thing that can happen is to feel the love of the people" - he got to feel it and for him that was "spectacular".
He thanked Pico, Rafa and Nole, "excellent players and excellent guys", for being there for his farewell and added that it's great to have the #1 and #2 in the world as guests in Argentina. For that he thanked Rafa and Nole again.
Then of course David thanked his family, his team and everyone, who was part of it over the years. But at the very end he gave special thanks to Diego Rodriguez, who was with him for "almost ten years, during the good times and the bad". And although it was his last match he said he hopes that it won't be the last he has seen of him.
And then David decided that it was enough, that he had said all he wanted to say.

But afterwards, there was one last press conference to get through.

"There's a bit of sadness now but you don't spend all your life as a tennis player. These are stages that come and go. Now it's happening to me, tomorrow it'll happen to somebody else."


  1. Thanks Julia, not for this post but for keeping us informed, and keeping us together for the past few years. I'm truly grateful that you invited me to take a look at your blog.
    Each time one of my favourite players retired I thought it would be easier next time as I get used to the concept but it's never the case and certainly not this time with my favourite male tennis player ever. But I think he said it well "There's a bit of sadness now but you don't spend all your life as a tennis player. These are stages that come and go. Now it's happening to me, tomorrow it'll happen to somebody else."

  2. I couldn't put it any better than Camilia has done.

  3. I have found this the most professionally well managed website for Nalbandian, and also compared to many other tennis players' sites. Neat, informative, consistent, regular, iteresting, updated, with great articles written with great taste and skill. Truly deserved for such a talented tennis genius as David Nalbandian.

    I am sure he can feel proud of this website dedicated to him. I hope David some day recognizes the historical value of it in some nice way. I am sure many around the world were able to follow the great Nalbandian during these years by visiting this excellent site. Please never close it. I am sure that far from losing interest and memory about this player, Nalbandian's legend will grow with the years as we compare him with the other players left on the tour and the new ones coming too, and we thus get to feel even more how unique this tremendous player was as we miss him on the tour.

    I feel that we, David Nalbandian's followers, are quite unique. Something like Apple followers perhaps?. We are not here because of his fame, ranking, success, fashion or marketing behind him. He is not a player of the masses. There are certainly many more players more successful in terms of results and ranking or even carisma. We have been attracted to him purely by his tennis. I am sure most of you would agree that wherever beauty and perfection in tennis is appreciated then David Nalbandian has to be there heading the list. Those that know a lot about advanced tennis technique I know have Nablandian as an ever threshold reference for the best.

    I would even dare to say, that he has been the most elegant, talented and complete player there has been so far in tennis history. Bringing to the sport a way of playing tennis never seen before, learned from no one, as he came right at the transition of the new modern top spin and baseline era of luxilon tennis, where the old tennis technique had become obsolete only a few years before he became pro. A special natural talent. At his peak, his beautful technique and precise and fluent striking was lethal to the best version of any other great player. He made you think by his attitude that he thought this very same thing himself too. He felt his tennis was better than anyone. And I loved that all these years. Because that was a pure fact.

    I will miss his backhand especially, and his footwork on the court, so simple neat and effective. Also his balance rhythm and timing. Always at the right place with plenty of time to hit ball on the rise. Like if that was easy. Such a pleasure to watch. A great loss to the sport this is. I am so happy he had the greatest and best of all farewell, being honored by the legends of Djokovic and Nadal. David deserved it more than anyone. I felt bad with the weak and poor recognition by the ATP site when he announced his retirement. Not worthy for such a class player. Novak and Rafa made made the world know how important Nalbandian's talent is among tennis players honoring him with their presence.

  4. Lastly I would like to remember what other top tennis players thought of Nalby, maybe some here can help me too, and even add some more quotes, that could be a nice, to have them all together here on the comments.

    - Rafa Nadal "at his best David made you feel you were nothing on the court"

    - Roger Federer "he could have been number one in 2006" (this is Roger Federer best years)

    - Richard Gasquet "The best player I played in my life it was Nalbandian in Paris'"

    - Stanislas Warwinka "Nalbandian was the best player I have faced”

    - Ljubicic: "David is one of the best talents in the game. And when he's playing well, I mean, he's almost unplayable, ... fantastic returns, acuracy, strength, ...he's just really really difficult to play against"

    - Cilic "David Nalbandian is the toughest opponent for me"

    - Nishikori: asked about his toughest opponent he said:"Nalbandian, he had a great backhand, ... he's tough to beat"

  5. This is a very nice summary of David's farewell singles and doubles, maybe you can include it Julia.

  6. Nice press conference after the match in La Rural, speaking about his shoulder and emotions of his last day as a player (16:20 long)

  7. Thanks but I'll leave the post the way it is.
    Thanks also for all the praise and for acknowledging my attempts to write interesting posts.
    But if there's anyone who can be proud of this site then it's me and those who have helped me making it what it is. VD is about David but it was created for and dedicated to his fans. To make following his matches and his career in general easier - or even possible. My promise was that VD would be there until the end of David's career. That promise I've kept. But I'm not going to keep VD around forever, it has served its purpose.
    I'm still going to write a post about David and being his fan, though. And I'll also write about what it was like to keep this blog.