Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Epilogue

When a blond little boy called David took part in his first ever tennis tournament, at the tender age of five or maybe six, he already knew how to hold a racquet and how to hit the ball with it. What he hadn't figured out just yet was how to tie his shoelaces. For that he still needed his mother, who would hasten onto the court to fix them for him.
Many years later, tying his shoelaces was a ritual for the professional tennis player called David.
Ahead of every match he'd devote a moment to it, sitting down on his bench or chair before joining his opponent and the umpire for the coin toss. That brief moment, the little ritual was always the same.
What would happen afterwards, however, wasn't always as easy to predict.

(Getty Images)
On the tennis court David was a tactician and an aesthete. He was one for planning several strokes ahead, probably had been already since childhood days when he often had to face much older players, including his brothers.
Opponents like that young David couldn't possibly hit off the court. But he could find ways of of hitting around them if he managed to control the ball and if he placed it smartly enough. Technique and tactics became the pillars that David's game was built on.
The aesthetic aspect was the seemingly effortless elegance with which he executed it, especially his famed backhand. And which was even more impressive if you got the chance to watch it live. On a good day, David's game could be completely devastating for any given opponent and it was an absolute joy to watch, not only for his fans.


(Getty Images)
But of course nobody has only good days. And David always had quite a few bad ones. Often his numerous injuries were to blame though even when fit there were days when he went down without any discernible signs of putting up a fight. Still, with David on court there was almost always a sense that something great might still happen, even if it had stubbornly refused to happen so far. After all, he could be unpredictable also in the positive sense, occasionally pulling off astounding comebacks.
Consistency, however, was something he reserved for his Davis Cup appearances and the scenario he liked best - David the national hero.
On the Tour it was a different matter. Much has been written about David's lack of consistency and what a player he could've been, had he only been more consistent. - But in that case he wouldn't have been the player he was (to say it with a line from Marcelo Gantman's great article).


(Getty Images)
Throughout his career David had his very own way of doing things. It included bringing various friends along to tournaments, wearing sweat pants and flip-flops at all possible times, going out also during tournament weeks, flying back home whenever he had the chance and pursuing his other interests like polo or rally driving not only during the off-season.
It didn't include, and never would have, hiring a non-Argentine coach or employing some of the latest fitness training techniques. We would've never seen David playing Challenger events to improve his ranking, nor would we have ever seen him interacting with his fans via "his" Twitter or Facebook.
Had it been up to David he also wouldn't have talked to the media. Even if he invariably relied on the media when it came to spreading news. Though what we got to hear or read wasn't necessarily the whole truth, especially not when it came to hip injuries and surgeries.


(Eduardo Poza)
I always loved that moment when David tied his shoelaces before the match. During it I often asked myself which David I would get to see on that day.
And now that the first tournaments of the 2014 season have already begun it's quite strange to think that I will never get to ask myself again. Or that I will never cover another one of his matches for this blog.
It's a big change for me and a much bigger one still for David, of course.
But on this first day of 2014, David's 32nd birthday, there's absolutely no reason to worry about him. The Davis Cup - that one might still bug him a little bit. But as far as I can tell he seems very happy with his post-tennis life. As a father and also as an aspiring polo player - he's going to play another tournament next weekend.
My objective with this blog was to keep track of David, the tennis player and his career. That part of his life is over now and so is my "live" coverage.
So for the last time here on Vamos David it's

Happy Birthday, David

(Getty Images)

4 comments:

  1. Happy birthday David.
    Happy New Year VamosDaviders.
    Julia, thanks for doing this fantastic blog for so long.
    The end of an era. :(

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  2. Happy New Year also from me. :)
    And yeah, it is the end of an era.

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  3. So I guess this is it. All those fun watch parties are over. Julia, you helped create a very unique experience for all of us VamosDaviders. Thank you so much. It is too bad David didn't interact with his fans via social media. I recently opened a Twitter account and have had fun interacting with players, ex-players, sports writers and commentators. If nothing else, you can express your opinion. Istabraq, take care. Your comments are always refreshing and on target. And Julia, let us know when you start David's Polo blog. Ciao everyone and Happy New Year.

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  4. This is it, except for some last words and some minor adjustments I'll make when I officially put VD in 'sleep mode'.
    Even without wanting to interact directly with his fans there are other things David could've done to acknowledge them. Like releasing his schedule in advance so that people can plan trips. Or having an official site that actually deserves the name. Or providing info in some other reliable manner. But - nope.
    Anyway, no more blogging for me, I've had my share...
    And thank you both, Istabraq and John for sticking around until the end. :)

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