Wednesday Worries

Given DelPo’s withdrawal from Paris, his tennis season will come to an end at Davis Cup.  Which, if you’re a fan of Team Argentina, is the all-encompassing event for which DelPo and Nalby will be fighting for glory and country.  Nalby’s firstborn will probably be named Davis.  It’s that important.  If you’re an Armada fan, you’re thinking “Oh Davis Cup, how nice would it be for Rafa and Ferru to finish an already successful year with yet another Davis Cup win.  It’s the tennis version of a nightcap.”  Argentina is hopelessly over-matched here.

In DelPo’s own words, he thinks about Davis Cup everyday.  It’s the central event around which Nalby has focused many a tennis season.

Does this seem like the first sign of impending tragedy to anyone else?  You’ve seen this movie before.  The one with the sad ending you can see coming from the very start.  This will end in tears.  If you build something up, then you set yourself up for a letdown.

DelPo structured his 2011 season around the summer hardcourt season.  He spoke specifically and optimistically about peaking during the summer, on the surface that suited his game.  Losses to Djokovic at RG and Rafa at Wimbledon didn’t hurt as much, because he was gearing up for the summer.  Unfortunately, he had a poor summer, with early losses in LA, Montreal and Cincinnati, followed by a 3rd round defeat at the USO.  He mortgaged his confidence on the summer hardcourt season and took a hit.

This is why it irritates me when people openly wonder, “Can JMDP win Davis Cup and have a Djokovic-like run in 2012?”  No, and no.

Winning the Davis Cup will require a small miracle.  Vintage JMDP can certainly make a match of it with Nadal and Ferrer, even on clay.  The question is whether he can summon his best form at the critical moments.  The DelPo of early 2011 certainly could, but his form has been on-and-off recently.  His withdrawal from Paris adds to the concerns, as he will head into Sevilla with little momentum and a lingering injury.

Nalby is not the Nalby of prior years who was capable of pulling off magic at Davis Cup.  He played extremely well in Serbia, but Spain is a four-headed monster of a different ilk (How do the Armada stay so maddeningly healthy all the time?  Also, could Argentina borrow their physiologists for a week?  They’re three men down, only Pico’s standing)

Following his poor summer season, DelPo has now taken a double mortgage on his confidence for Davis Cup.  He withdrew from Paris, forsaking valuable ranking points and momentum, in order to fully prepare for Davis Cup–which Spain is going to win anyway.  He could have scored big results in the Asian swing and in Paris—he could have diversified, but he’s pinned it all on Davis Cup.

On one hand, he’s setting himself up for a huge, colossal disappointment.  On the other hand, is there any other way to prepare for the final than the current way he’s chosen?  Even if their chances are lower than 10% here, that’s all the more reason to push everything aside and go for what will admittedly be Argentina’s only chance to win a Davis Cup in the next 5-10 years.  Once Nalby retires, all the talent of JMDP will not be enough to carry Argentina alone.  A good team needs at least two strong players.

As for the blather about JMDP potentially having a 2012 run a la Djokovic—have you seen his recent form?  He needs to work on fitness and stamina.  I don’t know if he needs to lose ten pounds, try altitude training, or go gluten-free/light, but something needs to change before 2012.  Even in the best of times, he is injury-prone.  So no, please let’s not raise senseless expectations that way.  He’s ranked no. 12 in the world now and the goal next season is to be a steady performer in the top 10, maybe even the top 5.

Back to Davis Cup: No one can say DelPo hasn’t committed 100% to the event.  DelPo’s schedule management this fall has been questionable–he didn’t play in Asia and he withdrew from Paris.   If Argentina were to win DC, it would look like the genius move to end all genius moves.  In the all-too-likely event that Argentina loses, he will be left to rue his missed chances this year.

If nothing else, I hope Team Argentina take their tour books to Spain.  I hear Sevilla is a beautiful city.  So there’s that.

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About mariposaxprs

I play favorites with Juan Martin Del Potro, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, David Ferrer, Feliciano Lopez, Gilles Simon and the long line of mercurial talent that drives me to despair in front of the screen at odd hours during the week.
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6 Responses to Wednesday Worries

  1. ariennalee says:

    Your concern (and worry) for Delpo is palpable in this post! As a friend of mine said to me once, it’ll all be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end yet.

    On a lighter note, Davis is actually a pretty good name for Nalby’s future child.

    • mariposaxprs says:

      It will be a BEATDOWN. Poor DelPo and Nalby. The off-season will not be long enough to recuperate. Although it probably will be enough time, since Argentina’s used to losing Davis Cup ;( Maybe 20 years later, a young Davis Nalbandian will take over the reins 😉

      • Dog-man says:

        I suppose you’re right, Rafa and Daveed alone make for a pretty big mountain to climb on clay. I hope they’re at least as physically as sound as possible… or on the other hand, would physical wounds help insulate them from the mental anguish? Wait, what am I talking about… it ain’t over until it’s over! At least Pico will be riding a confidence wave (who knows, maybe he’ll beat Fed today. 😉 And although I’m kinda hoping for an Armada victory to jump start Rafa’s 2012, I wouldn’t be opposed to the underdog story of the year.

        I think you make a good observation about Delpo’s fitness though. I was thinking about that match against Gilles this summer..the one where it looked like a balmy spring day on Simon’s side of the net and high noon in Death Valley in Delpo’s backcourt. To be fair, it WAS actually more like an inferno out there than not, but it was also apparent that JMDP hasn’t managed to get his full fitness back. For the big guys it must be so tough!

        • ariennalee says:

          ooops!! I totally didn’t notice that my post name was signed in as “Dog-man.” How awkward. I was, um, pretending to be Alexandr Dolgopolov on Queridorafa’s blog. You understand, I’m sure, yes? Yes?? No? 😉

          • mariposaxprs says:

            Hello, Dog-man! Why no, it’s so nice of you to stop by! How’s the Ukrainian citizenship treating you these days? Care to venture into Argentina? You’d look nice in sky blue 🙂

        • mariposaxprs says:

          Ferru recently gave an interview where he said Spain’s chances are 60-40, because they have the no. 2 on their team. In Ferru-speak, 60-40 is actually 90-10. It’s so like him to completely overlook the fact that he himself is no. 5 as well 😉 I just hope the final is a closely fought tie and that’s it not decided in the first three rubbers. That would do justice to the quality of both teams.

          The US Open was a puzzling series of matches to watch from DelPo. He was clearly running out of steam by the 3rd set of each match. Add to that the fact that Gilles is capable of running all day and it was clear why DelPo lost. Sometimes, I wish DelPo could “borrow” one of Muzz’s army of trainers and get a real fitness regimen in place. Yes, I guess that means I have player box envy!

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