Updates: Argies Crowded into One Quarter of the USO Draw

Apologies for not posting in the past week.  I’d been away and am now catching up with life/work/tennis news.  So what’s new?

USO Draw News & DelPo’s State:

The USO draw ceremony took place and DelPo landed in Djokovic’s quarter of the draw.  He faces — wait for it — Nalby in R1, the winner of which will play the winner of Harrison-Becker in R2.  For DelPo, his route to the final will likely look like this: Nalbandian, Harrison, Seppi, Pico, Djokovic, Ferru, Fed 0r Muzz.  They crowded all the Argies into one quarter of the draw.  Hardman Carlos Berlocq faces Bernie Tomic in R1, in the same quarter as DelPo.

The last time DelPo played Nalby was 2008 Paris, where Nalby defeated DelPo in straight sets with a second set bagel.  Curiously, DelPo and Nalby have only played each other on HCs.  Nalby has won 3 of his 4 encounters with DelPo and all 4 matches have been decided in straight sets.  Despite Nalby’s streaky form of late, DelPo-Nalby in R1 will be a nailbiter.

In not unrelated news, Nalby recently filmed a deodorant commercial where he’s playing Davis Cup — at 0:04 in the ad, Nalby says, “Yo no abandono.”  Then a supremely tall player appears to his right.  Nalby doesn’t seek drama, it walks up to him.  Nevertheless, this is pre-match intimidation of DelPo.  I will commence frazzling now (my favorite part of the ad was at 0:17-0:18, when he gives the “stare”).

Given the proximity of the DC SF, I’m curious to see how Berdy plays his hand.  I do not want Berdy to have a demoralizing early loss (he plays promising youngster and Fed acolyte David Goffin in R1) — because that could spark his fire and lead him to play well at DC, which is unacceptable.  In conclusion, Berdy must therefore play well at the USO, so that he suffers from over-confidence and hence, loses his DC rubbers.  However, Berdy has just reached the SF at Winston-Salem, which means we could have another playing-Dusseldorf-before-RG situation on our hands.  Berdy possibly needs a scheduling consultant.

DelPo has not been practicing with his racquets, in order to protect his left wrist — instead, he’s focusing on physical training.  DelPo will probably be the darkest of the dark horses at the USO, because of the question mark over his head (or his wrist).  I’d say Ferru has a favorable draw, as he’ll likely play Tipsy for a spot in the SF.

***

The Fedipal Complex:

Steve Tignor at Tennis.com wrote an interesting piece about the “Fedipal complex” (he linked to an earlier blog post I’d written, where I wrote briefly about it).  I like Tignor’s interpretations of Fed’s rivalry with this generation of players — I thought his description of the Muzz-Fed dynamic was spot-on and I think he gave a balanced analysis of the Fed-Rafa dynamic.  Given how Fed has possibly been more outspoken about Muzz than the other players, the little bro-big bro dynamic seems like a very apt metaphor.

DelPo recently confirmed he will play Basel (Fed’s hometown).  To continue the Fedipal metaphor, it was Fed who in 2006 gave then 18-year old DelPo a WC to play Basel, where DelPo reached the QF.

Photo: Getty

DelPo as an 18-y.o. in 2006 (Photo is from 2006 Roland Garros)

In 2012, DelPo will return to visit Father Fed in Basel.  However, DelPo will also host Fed at the Tigre exho in Argentina this December — this is similar to a father visiting the son’s home for the first time, right?  Not to worry!  For DelPo keeps a (relatively) tidy kitchen.  He even shops for his own produce.  Fed will be impressed, of this I am certain.  He must be impressed.  Fedelpo will then sit back on the couch and watch a DVD of their Olympic SF (only the first set, because hey, there’s plenty of other stuff on the ARG travel itinerary too!)

***

The WTA “Strong is Beautiful” campaign:

The WTA’s latest ad campaign has sparked many interesting debates.  My two cents: There’s nothing inherently wrong with their slogan, “Strong is Beautiful.”  There’s a part of tennis that focuses on the aesthetics.  There’s a reason why I’d rather watch Gasquet than Roddick 10/10 times, even when Gasquet is permanently planted 5 feet behind the baseline.  Even when I know Roddick will very likely be remembered as the more accomplished player.  But how could I not tune into Reeshie’s BHs, or those moments he hits his stride in a match (featuring his ever rare FHDTL winners)?  Yet, at the end of the day, isn’t that a superficial reason to watch a player?  If he hits all those pretty shots and still loses a match, why do I keep watching Reeshie?  The “superficial” component applies to the men as well.  It’s pointless to deny it.

The problem with the WTA ad is that beauty takes precedence over strength.  The very fact that they recruited very prominent figures (Richard Branson, Donald Trump, Aretha Franklin among them) to market the WTA, undersells the WTA — the ad should convince the audience that the product speaks for itself.  Instead, it feels like they’re compensating for something — which is confusing, because the WTA has plenty of storylines that are calling for praise.  I could only shrug by the time Rory McIlroy said, “Strong is Caroline.”

When fans look at the way Serena Williams came back from a life-threatening condition that forced her to take a long break, to win Wimby and then Olympic gold in singles and doubles, that’s an instance where “Strong is Beautiful” rings true.  Same for Venus Williams, who overcame her immune system condition to win doubles gold.  I preface every Sharapova mention with the fact that I personally do not like her, but her comeback from shoulder injury is another validation that “Strong is Beautiful” (even as I am still in denial about the fact that she has a Career Grand Slam).   Why not draw focus to those examples?

What’s most baffling is the fact that actor Stanley Tucci stars in the ad — if they included Tucci, doesn’t that mean the ad people should be culturally sensitive enough to know that you don’t sell the WTA by portraying them as passive objects of beauty (as determined by figures like Donald Trump?)  Doesn’t Tucci play the devoted husband (Julie & Julia) or at leasts, a shrewd observer of people (Devil Wears Prada) in just about movie he stars in?  (He’s an actor who’s featured in more movies than I ever realized).

** I still haven’t done the write-up for DelPo’s Olympics SF, but I will write one up before the USO starts.  I think it will be fitting way to build up our expectations for the last Slam of the year!

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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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8 Responses to Updates: Argies Crowded into One Quarter of the USO Draw

  1. Candy says:

    Aloha!!! 😀 You’re back from your vacation already?

    Hehe! “A blog called Mariposaxprs”! Mariposa is flying! 😀

    Boo. Putting Argies in the same quarter would cause disharmony in the ARG DC team. They need to have a deal beforehand. Ok, Nalby, lose to Delpo & don’t feel sad. Delpo will win DC for you in return. It sounds a great offer right? (I’m digging a hole in a mountain in Tandil. Just in case Delpo can’t win DC for him, he can hide in there lol)

    It’s cool there’re great Delpo’s exho matches. With Fed, with Gonzo in Dec too (right?!), then with Rafa at MSG! 😀

    • mariposaxprs says:

      Aloha, Candy! I was flying in air (for a very long flight), but I’ve now returned home safely 🙂

      Lolol you think of everything! I think your original offer sounds like a great bargain, from which both DelPo AND Nalby would benefit. I will prepare the shovels and bring snack supplies to keep DelPo in hiding, should that become necessary! It’s kind of sad that this may or may not be Nalby’s last USO and he has to play DelPo in R1. The draw has def been unkind to Nalby for awhile, which is a shame since Nalby played so well at IW this year too. But DelPo needs this R1 win more, so vamos DelPo! And I will have to keep an eye on Berdy and Steps, to see what they’re up to (for “DC research” purposes ;))

      The world is understanding DelPo — three big exhos coming up for him! I think he’ll get plenty of practice for “entertaining crowds.” Do you think he will be chatty or completely silent? There was once an exho where Rafa was silent when Fed/Sampras/Agassi were all talking — does that mean a DelPo-Rafa exho would take place in complete silence?

      • Candy says:

        😦 I really hope Nalby will play for more years, for himself & for ARG. IMO, Team ARG still needs him. Also, he played well in Spring HC season & on grass too until that incident. Without that incident, he might have had the title, a better ranking, better draws, and better results. Sometimes, one (small) thing can change everything. It’s life I guess…

        I think Delpo will feel comfortable at home, so Delpo-Fed would be a great one. As for Delpo-Rafa at MSG, haha, I don’t know. Two Spanish-speakers surrounded by thousands of New Yorkers. It’s hard for them to have jokes in English. But Delpo can be very funny. He sometimes, in his matches, interacts with audience, has fun with ball kids & line judges, hit funny shots, etc. I’m optimistic about it. 😛

  2. Rita says:

    Can you briefly summarize what it is between Delpo and Nalbie? I’ve picked up bits and pieces but would like to hear your version. Also, which do you think means more to Delpo: the Davis Cup or US Open? His recent coming out re his lady and another physical problem make me think he might be thinking of retiring to Argie to raise a bunch of green-eyed ninos.

    • mariposaxprs says:

      It’s a “mini-drama” dating back to the 2008 DC final. There were rumors that Nalby was unhappy w/DelPo for playing the year-end Masters Cup in Shanghai, which meant DelPo had less time to prepare for the DC final (given the nearly 30 hrs travel time b/w Shanghai and Mar del Plata). When DelPo lost to Feli, Nalby reportedly tore into DelPo about it and this generally created tension on the team (which got worse after ARG lost a winnable tie) — there were rumors of a fistfight in the locker room, but I don’t know if those are true. It was a combo of unfortunate events and the pressure that ARG faced to win their home tie. Their “reconciliation” came later that year, when DelPo & Nalby played doubles at IW in ’09. Since then, they’ve more or less been like respectful colleagues, although it does create a colorful backdrop against which to see how they act as teammates.

      That’s a tough one to decide! I’d like to choose both 🙂 I read the recent article where his girlfriend talks about wanting to start a family. Whatever happens, as long as it doesn’t affect his tennis and he keeps playing for the next 10 (or 20) years, I’ll be fine with it!

    • mariposaxprs says:

      Also, did you make your way back from Cincinnati? I hope you’re settled in and ready for the upcoming USO swing!!

  3. Nice shout-out from Steve Tignor for the blog :p Aww, 18-year-old DelPo 🙂 I remember watching play one of the Latin American tournaments–Acapulo?–and thinking, this kid is going to be great! DelPo cooking and squeezing produce–wasn’t that from Wimbledon last year? Aww again 🙂
    I am not going to predict who will win the DelNalby battle. (Does DelPo have a Nalbipal complex? More like an older brother/sibling rival complex, maybe). I will point out that for Seppi to meet the winner of NalDelpo, Seppi will have to get past Tommy Robredo in the first round. Okay, Tommy is recently back from surgery/rehab. But if I can get into that match, Seppi will have to contend with me waving pompoms, wooting extremely loudly, and barely restraining myself from jumping over the barrier, tackling him and yelling, “How dare you be mean to Tommy, returning his serves like that?” Sorry, Andreas! I’m a little giddy still from seeing Tommy’s name in the draw. That’s going to be one interesting quarter of the draw!

    • mariposaxprs says:

      Hi Clare! Thanks 🙂 I just checked DelPo’s playing history at Acapulco and that was way back in 2006 too! You have Fed’s eye (and a similar timeframe) for spotting future tennis talent! The produce shopping was from Miami but the cooking was done at Wimbledon — he’s quite the sophisticated cook, shipping ingredients abroad and all, isn’t he? 😉

      The Nalbipal complex is potentially dangerous. It’ll be interesting to see how they play, since it’s the first time in nearly 4 years. Seppi-TRob sounds like a good early-round match to see! Respect to TRob for fighting his way back, and I will also be on his side (no offense, Seppi!) TRob should interact with his fanbase more often! He seems somewhat quiet these days, but maybe the USO will be the time it happens?!

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