The Argentines have been in Sevilla for a few days and have settled into a routine of practicing almost 4 hours a day on the court, combined with sessions at the gym.
Alarming and somewhat concerning are the issues the Argie-men are having with the clay court at La Cartuja stadium: 1) The architecture of the stadium creates light and shadows that make it difficult for players (including Rafa) to track the ball. 2) The Argentines say the balls are too “fofa” (the balls don’t have enough pressure). 3) Lastly, and least surprisingly, they remarked the clay court plays very slowly.
Most concerning of all, DelPo had a minor injury scare two days ago. During training, he lightly sprained his right knee. He insists his knee is fine now, although he’s taken to taping it during training sessions. To some relief, he’s back on a normal training schedule.
Four days before the start of the final, things don’t look easy-going in the Argentina camp. Still, aside from their complaint with the light and shadows, I really don’t see the point in raising a fuss about the official balls or the pace of the court. It can’t be easy right now for the underdogs, but may they stay focused and injury-free during the final and all.
On a less serious note, more pic spam–
Here lies proof that the Spaniards have good taste. They’re flocking to DelPo. DelPo is clearly the hottest commodity at the dance (clearly: he had Feli grinning like a schoolgirl, Fer viciously trying to make eye contact, now Rafa). It seems Rafa’s initiated the dance, but why hasn’t DelPo committed his right hand to Rafa’s shoulder? This is a deliciously awkward scene. Now we just need a DelPo-Ferru dance to complete the circle.
Something happened mid-dance and DelPo is not amused: “Rafa, we’ve been through this. Boundaries! I will not be groped at random.” / “But DelPo, Pico had no problem with it.” / “Gurrll, my hand is on my hip. From one popped collar to another, listen to me.”
Not to be outdone, Nalby was training with doubles specialist Eduardo Schwank while Spain’s DC captain Albert Costa observed them. It’s reported Nalby approached Costa and made a joke about Costa being a spy. No reports on whether anyone laughed. Leave it to Nalby to dispense with formalities and talk to the elephant in the room. Respect.
The Spaniards then held a radio conference and all four members of the DC team attended:
Feli is still dreaming of DelPo. He’s clearly enamoured and has a devious look on his face.
Feli masks his adoration by using Ferru as a cover. Fer is trying ever so hard to be aloof–Rafa is laughing gleefully at Fer’s sheepish attempt to play it cool.
When asked about the possibility of Argentina winning the final, Ferru and Feli put on their best introspective thinker faces.
Alas, they reach the same conclusion: “Is a funny question, no? Jajajajaja.”
Applause at the end. Fer appears so relaxed in these photos. I dare say he almost looks happy. I’m still unsure whether that’s a good or bad omen. The hour-long radio interview is available here (in Spanish)–there’s apparently a cute segment where children ask questions to the players as well.