(Updated on Oct. 11: Del Potro recently announced he will be playing the tournament in Stockholm. I’ve since updated the information in the entry below)
According to Clarin news, Juan Martin del Potro will not be playing Shanghai. He will instead play Stockholm, Vienna, Valencia, and Paris before the Davis Cup final. What does it all mean?
- Not playing Shanghai means JMDP is out of contention for the World Tour Finals. He’s prioritizing Davis Cup over WTF.
- JMDP’s first tournament this month will be Stockholm, which starts Oct. 17
- He’ll play four straight tournaments (a 250-, 250-, 500-, and Masters-level) and then have two weeks off before the Davis Cup.
- The mandatory requirements for top 30 players do not apply to him this year. JMDP was ranked well below 200 at the start of the year.
Shanghai is a Masters and it could have helped his ranking to play the event, especially with Federer out and Djokovic doubtful. Is he skipping Shanghai in order to completely table the option of playing the WTF? It’s a calculated risk and a potentially hurtful compromise for his individual career. Still, it’s a smart move because he’s removed any space for critics to question his commitment to Davis Cup now. If the Argentinean media’s treatment of their soccer team is anything to by, they don’t look kindly on shortcomings.
I previously thought JMDP wasn’t playing Stockholm, but it turns out he will be competing. He doesn’t have an official website, so it’s always a guessing game where his next tournament will be. Then again, he’s an elf and they’re mysterious creatures.
So Stockholm-Vienna-Valencia-Paris it is (for now). On a sidenote, the Valencia Open has embarked on a (mostly one-sided) love affair with Delpo, as evidenced by their Twitter account. Up until a month ago, they took every opportunity to mention his name (not unlike my blog here). Then this happened. They’ve been silent about him ever since.
In any case, Valencia (Ferru’s hometown) is a possible venue for the Davis Cup final. JMDP may be playing the Valencia Open in order to go on a secret reconnaissance mission for Davis Cup. He’ll be taking his binoculars and HD video camera. Plus a shovel, for digging tunnels and escape routes. Hence his withdrawal from Shanghai. This may be the savviest strategy ever for Argentina to win Davis Cup. Or it could be plain foolish and I may later end up blaming Pico and Delpo for going soft in the head through their dalliances with the Spanish squad. Only time will tell…