- In 2008, when Spain surprised the home favorites Argentina at Mar del Plata, the Spaniards hung a sign in their locker room that read “Yes, we can.” In 2011, Argentina should have a poster that reads “Spain can beat Argentina on roller skates.” Such were the words spoken by Manolo Santana, 3-time Grand Slam winner. In the absence of any real trash-talking between the two sides, it seems Santana has taken it upon himself to light a fire underneath the rivalry.
- Christopher Clarey offers a look at David Nalbandian, the king for whom Davis Cup has become an “enduring obsession.” It’s a great read that touches on Nalby’s sometimes moody character, combined with the respect he’s earned among colleagues. At the end, Clarey speaks about the tensions that arose between DelPo and Nalby in 2008 and how their relationship has changed since then. He touches on Captain Tito’s efforts to bridge the tension between Nalby and DelPo, which includes the two “dining together occasionally on the road.”
- A short profile on Argentina’s DC Captain Tito: He was actually born in Spain, in a small town called–wait for it–Armada (near the Galician region). He emigrated with his parents to Argentina following World War II, but still has ties to his family in Spain. This is much like the upcoming Canada-France DC tie, in that there are ancestral ties that bind the two countries. Except Argentina-Spain seem to be conciliatory toward each other (with the exception of Manolo Santana)
- DelPo-Nalby relations: Spanish publication Marca recently published a short piece that claims DelPo and Nalby have never spoken to each other since arriving in Sevilla. It’s a fluff piece that includes a hilarious markup of a photo taken at Argentina’s presser, which measures the distance between DelPo and Nalby. Other sites made the same baseless claims during the Argentina-Serbia SF, so I wouldn’t take it too seriously.
That said, it will always be complicated between DelPo and Nalby. I don’t think anyone can fault DelPo for choosing to play the 2008 WTF–given how happy Fish and Tipsy looked in London this year, anyone can see the WTF is a cherished experience for all.
In hindsight, it’s far too easy to label DelPo as selfish for his decision to play the 2008 WTF. But look at Verdasco in 2009—he seemed to be on the upswing in his career, which saw him qualify for the WTF. The contrast between Verdasco in 2009 and 2011 is pretty stark, which proves the point that no one can predict how well they’ll play the next year.
Of course, DelPo qualified for the WTF in 2009 and he nearly qualified again this year. Still, there was no way for him to know in 2008 whether his qualification was going to be a lone career highlight or the stepping stone to greater accomplishments. Personally, I think while DelPo may have hurt Argentina’s chances by playing WTF in 2008, you can’t blame him for his decision either. Davis Cup is a team sport and it’s unfair to burden one player with the dreams of his aging compatriot.
That said, Nalby is Nalby and his commitment to DC is simply unmatched. I liked an interview that Nalby recently gave, where he says “I don’t want to be a hero, I just want to win Davis Cup.” I think that attitude was missing in 2008, when he perhaps focused too much on becoming a hero. So that slight change, along with the lessons learned from 2008, seems like a good foundation for a working relationship between DelPo and Nalby. It’s mostly water under the bridge now.