In Del Potro’s absence, I’ve perhaps spent far too much time envisioning conspiracy scenarios for the upcoming Davis Cup. I assure you after this week I will put a momentary stop to that. For now, I’d like to expand on some concerning details:
1) Nalbandian: Letting down his guard?
El Rey Nalbandian embodies the Davis Cup spirit. In the right frame of mind, he is a fierce competitor. He has a fine eye for detail. Just check out his official website and the painstaking level of attention he’s devoted to his presence on the interwebs. Credit to Pico as well, who also works hard to spread the Monaco brand. I digress though. Back to my talk with Nalbandian:
When I saw the photos of you and Rafa at the ATP Aces for Charity event, you looked awfully grim and I took that as a sign of your battle-readiness. Whenever I worry that I’m taking this Davis Cup too seriously, I look at your grim visage and I know there’s someone who’s treating this *much* more seriously than I am. Of course, you’re the one who’ll actually be out there fighting on the court and you’ve put in a career’s worth of matches at Davis Cup, but let’s gloss over that awfully convenient fact for now.
After a straightforward first round win in Tokyo, you’ve set up a next round encounter with recent “Rafa & Pico conqueror” Ivan Dodig. Please do your best to reverse the dreaded Dodig curse. First things first though. What.are.you.doing.here? (photo below)
Even Ferru looks confused by the bizarre set-up. Nalby, you look to be the instigator of the hug here. I know you’re going to defend yourself by saying you were just offering Ferru a glimpse at your crazy brand of genius, but Nalby, you are playing with fire here. Terriers can bite too, you know. Also, have you seen Rafa lately? He’s looking smart.
Can’t we just approach this Davis Cup the old-fashioned way, when competitors maintained a healthy distance from each other before a big battle? Given the utter lack of photos featuring Delpo surrounded by friends on tour, he sometimes comes across as a melancholy pup. Yet right now, he’s the only one abiding by the competitors’ code (even if by default).
**My favorite part of Nalby’s site is the numerous photos of him roaring on the front page. It’s a scary visual and I’m sure he fully intended it that way. Also there is now a section that appears to be announcing Nadal and Ferrer’s latest news. I see you, Nalby.
2) There’s more, Argentina. Double(s)-trouble:
The second bit of news concerns Fer Verdasco and Feli Lopez, the doubles players for the Spanish Armada. Fer and Feli will be playing indoor doubles tournaments together in preparation for the Davis Cup. Argentina’s best doubles player, Eduardo Schwank, has been struggling with injuries this year and his run-up to a possible showing in the DC final includes Challenger events in South America. I should keep repeating that last sentence whenever I feel any hope rising of Argentina winning the Davis Cup. The doubles match will be important to this tie and Spain has stepped up its level. Eduardo Schwank will be playing Challenger tournaments in South America, while Fer and Feli prepare by playing doubles at the ATP level. Maybe I don’t want to talk about the upcoming final anymore.
So there, Argentina! Those are the two bits of news I wanted to share with you. Short summary: 1) You’re getting too close and 2) What’s your backup plan for doubles?
In memory of happier times: Here is Argentina’s celebration after defeating Kazakhstan at Parque Roca in July. Pico is trying to get a dance going but Del Potro is not compliant. He literally scampers off at the end and instead does a helpless wave motion with his hands to the crowd. There’s no dance-off in Delpo’s future, that’s for sure.