DelPo will return to the tour at Vienna, where he reached the final last year. As expected, he withdrew from the Shanghai Masters, so his next match will take place in a little over a week from now.
So far, there haven’t been too many news updates about DelPo’s left wrist injury. He returned to training early last week and that’s as far as we know. He was recently spotted in his car, wearing a fashionable hoodie.
In the time between the DC SF and now, a lot has happened in the tennis world:
The Asian swing has started and Pico made an emphatic statement, winning his fourth title of 2012, and his first title on HC. He beat Benny in the final at Kuala Lampur — Pico clearly cherished his first HC title win. Pico then lost in R2 to Marcos Baghdatis at Tokyo (Baggy is a dangerous opponent for the Argie players. This year, DelPo has only lost to two players ranked below him — Stepanek in Toronto and Baghdatis in Sydney. Overall though, it’s nice to see Pico overcoming that ankle injury at Monte Carlos earlier this year. May this confidence boost serve him well (especially at Davis Cup next year!)
Speaking of Davis Cup, there is slightly more worrisome news. It appears Nalby’s abductor injury will take longer to heal than expected. The news has been non-specific about him, other than a disconcerting note that his future is uncertain right now. Nalby won’t be playing the Asian swing and we’ll have to wait until later this week to confirm whether or not he’ll play the European indoor HC swing. In the meantime, let us enjoy this great compilation of Nalby’s greatest BHs:
In other slightly gloomy news, Ferru retired from his match against Lu at Beijing (due to a stomach virus). That news in itself wouldn’t be so worrisome, except Ferru also withdrew from Shanghai (he was a finalist last year). Perhaps he wants extra rest before he plays Valencia, the WTF and the Davis Cup final afterwards? I hope it’s just that.
Speaking of the Davis Cup, Tio Toni visited Argentina as part of Babolat promotional activities. He gave a press conference that was filled with many gem quotes (of the Tio Toni variety). Toni implied Rafa may return to the tour this year, in time for the WTF and the DC final.
If Argentina had reached the DC final, I would probably be throwing a miniature fit right now, asking questions like “Why, Rafa? Why take half a year off, only to choose to return in time for the DC final?” Given the sorrowful events that happened in the DC SF, however, I am now hoping Rafa is well-recuperated and ready to help Spain lift the trophy again.
Now comes the fun part of Tio Toni’s interview:
Given how Tio Toni was in Argentina, he was naturally going to be asked many questions about the Argie players. Toni spoke glowingly of DelPo (he said DelPo was a candidate for the top ranking and that he’s a great player with even greater potential), and Tio Toni also had great compliments for Nalbandian.
As we all know, Tio Toni is not the type of person to give compliments just for the sake of giving out compliments. Compliments don’t grow on trees! If the dress is ugly, he’ll tell you to your face that cerulean blue is so five seasons ago. He won’t flinch when he tells you that the jeans do in fact make your bottom look big (which is confusing, because Rafa has a great big bottom that he shows off in jeans all the time — I guess Toni’s advice does not extend to the realm of fashion ;)).
Tio Toni seemed to be full of praise for the Argie players, until he was asked about Pico. He said Pico was a great player, but that Pico lacked a “punch shot” in the key moments of a match. Ouch.
For what it’s worth, I do agree with Tio Toni’s overall assessment of Pico’s game. I think Pico is a great player, and he’s proved as much this year. But Pico would not be my top pick for a “big match.” Still, there is something odd about Toni visiting a country and criticizing one of the nation’s top players. It’s a bit too Berdy-esque for my tastes. Then again, his criticism of Pico gives even more weight to his praise of DelPo, because he would have criticized DelPo too if he felt so inclined.
Also, Pico is close friends with Rafa, so perhaps Toni was just treating Pico the same way he treats Rafa? Which, in a slightly perverse way, is the highest form of praise Tio Toni could give.
Tio Toni the Tourist visits Argentina for the first time.