Pete Bodo’s latest article “A Fall to Remember” talks about–you guessed it–the fall tennis season in Asia and Europe. He says,
…The Asian swing also spells opportunity—a chance for those who blew it during those majors and Premier Mandatory and Masters 1000 events to rekindle hope and, picking through the leavings, add a few more ranking points here and there.
My secret plan for Del Potro’s stealthy rise into the top 10 has been revealed. That’s what I’d planned in my mental notebook (I also have a strategy for how Argentina can defeat Spain at Davis Cup, which I’ll send to Captain Tito upon his request). Shanghai and Paris are JMDP’s best bets to find individual glory during the hardcourt season.
So what if Shanghai and Paris are the Masters nobody really cares about? Del Potro needs a Masters in his palmarès to solidify his place in the mid-to-upper echelon. Tsonga and Berdych both won Paris awhile back. Djokovic won Shanghai last year. It’s certainly helped their careers, especially with Djokovic’s superb run to the top this year. Not until Friday will Djokovic announce whether he plays Shanghai (is it just me or has he taken a liking to making game-changing press announcements these days?) Federer is already out of Shanghai. Opportunity knocks.
Since Belgrade, the only photos of JMDP to surface are of his birthday party (Happy Birthday Delpo!) and his attendance at a Boca Juniors football match in Argentina (they won). He won’t be in action until Shanghai. He’ll embark on 4 straight weeks of tournaments at Shanghai-Stockholm-Valencia-Paris. Then it’s a week off before the Davis Cup final in Spain.
I doubt he’ll play all 5 tournaments. Especially if he somehow qualifies for the World Tour Finals (he’s sitting in 11th place right now). Remember the 2008 Davis Cup? JMDP’s participation in the WTF that year was at the root of conflict between him and Nalbandian. Imagine if JMDP qualified this year, they’d have the same argument again. If he qualified for the WTF, he’d have to play 6 tournaments. Nobody is capable of sustaining a high level of play for 6 straight tournaments. Never mind the fact that he’s unlikely to stay fit and healthy (wrist, hip) if he over-schedules himself. My unsolicited scheduling advice is that he withdraw from Stockholm and put Valencia on the backburner. JMDP has Nalby and Argentina to worry about at home. Captain Tito recently answered media questions about tension between Delpo and Nalby. Tito assured them, “No, it’s not true, in fact they kissed each other last night.” When asked if Delpo and Nalby would kiss again for the cameras, he answered “Oh no, they only kiss at night.”
I’m scratching my head, I don’t know what he means. Perhaps Captain Tito should write a letter to Phil Jackson, who once managed a team with feuding players as well.
Back to the tennis and Del Potro. Let’s see how Shanghai goes first. If he’s not up to the task of winning a Masters, it’s better he forget WTF and focus entirely on Davis Cup. It’s disheartening the way Argentina imploded at home in 2008, but to fall apart as guests in Spain would be plain embarrassing. Argentina: You are not the enemy, the enemy is the enemy!! Let them beat you, don’t beat yourselves first.
In the meantime–relax, condition yourself, and prepare for the fall season (you too, Delpo). It should be interesting for us fans (I am plain terrified)…