Davis Cup: Argentina Reach the QF & Drama Unfolds

Argentina Defeat Germany:

The R1 ARG-GER tie was wracked with uncertainty from the start.  First,  DelPo made his big announcement that he would not play DC for all of 2013.  Doubles specialist Edu Schwank’s injury withdrawal added to the troubles, as did Pico’s recurring injuries from last year.  DC stalwart Nalbandian had not played in almost 5 months and he had aggravated an existing injury in the weeks leading up to the DC tie at Parque Roca.

Argentina entered the weekend with Charly Bercloq, Pico Monaco, David Nalbandian and Horacio Zeballos.

To Argentina’s great relief, the team managed to secure a 5-0 whitewash over a weakened German side.

Berlocq played the 1st rubber against Kohlschreiber, in a matchup that featured the German 1H-backhander as the heavy favorite.  It’s a credit to Berlocq for fighting and staying in the match, to the point where he forced a 5th set.  While chasing down a dropshot in the 5th set, Kohli injured his hamstring and he could not chase down shots that were well within reach.  At 5-4* in the 5th set, he retired and granted Argentina their first win.

Pico then played well (in spite of a poor H2H against Florian Mayer) to defeat the crafty German player in four sets.  Argentina’s 2-0 lead heading into Saturday was certainly unexpected, but highly welcome.  Kohli, who’d originally been scheduled to play doubles, had to withdraw with his hamstring injury, which meant Kas and Kamke had to form a makeshift team for Germany.  Nalbandian and Zeballos played well to win in four sets and secure the tie for Argentina.

Argentina will now face France in the QF (at home in Argentina).  France defeated Israel 5-0 to clinch their QF spot with their A-team (Tsonga, Gasquet, Llodra, Benneteau).


The Drama:

What followed after Argentina’s victory is especially notable, as the players and Martin Jaite revealed a bit of rancor against DelPo.

At the press conference, a reporter asked Horacio Zeballos, Martin Jaite and David Nalbandian if they had received a congratulatory message from DelPo on their win over Germany.  Jaite said “No” in a bemused tone and Nalby also suppressed a smile as he said “No.”  Zeballos then took the microphone and sarcastically asked, “Who?” (prior to the DC tie, Zeballos had told the media that DelPo was egotistical and selfish for not playing R1 against Germany).

Moments after the press conference, DelPo tweeted his congratulations to Team Argentina (last year, DelPo had also congratulated the team, after ARG defeated GER without him in R1 at Hamburg).  It’s reported DelPo also sent a message to DC sub-captain Zabaleta, congratulating him on the win.

Argentinean journalists have noted the tense team environment, as it’s clear that the players and captain aren’t happy with DelPo’s absence.  What’s worse is the alleged manner in which Team Argentina celebrated in the locker room, which included songs directed at DelPo:

“And there you see / and there you see / to Del Potro / watching it on TV,” along with “Where is he? / Delpo, where is he?”

In a somewhat baffling turn of events, Jaite confirmed that he would soon be contacting DelPo to ask him to play in the QF against France, despite DelPo’s firm stance that he would not be playing DC this year.  It’s tough to imagine why DelPo would agree to play for the team, given the toxic atmosphere against him.

Pico has since gone on record to say that the team did not sing any songs taunting DelPo.  It seems Pico was also angry that journalists would report on what happened inside the locker-room.  It’s tough to know which version of events is true here.

While Argentina were slightly lucky to get past Germany so easily (given the less-than-ideal form and misfortunes of the German players), France is much more likely to be a trickier opponent.  When Gasquet was asked about France’s upcoming tie against Argentina, the Frenchman said “There are two teams for Argentina: one with Del Potro and one without Del Potro.”

Anything short of a mea maxima culpa from Martin Jaite and possibly Nalby is probably not going to change DelPo’s mind.  France look likely to play the Team Argentina without DelPo.

Also, if Jaite calls DelPo to ask him to play against France, might I suggest this song for DelPo to play as his response?

“Your bridges were burned / and now it’s your turn / To cry, cry me a river.”


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 Davis Cup: Argentina Reach the QF & Drama Unfolds

  1. OMG, Argentina! Why so dramatic?! I didn’t watch any Davis Cup action this weekend, but I was sort of aware that some sort of drama was going on with team Argie through twitter, but this is the first place where I read everything that went down!

    Here’s my analysis of the Shakespearean tragedy that is Argentina’s DC team. I think Nalby is more than aware having DelPo as part of the DC team is his best bet for winning DC. The cold hard facts are that Nalby has less than 5 years (at the maximum) to win DC. Honestly, DelPo could sit out DC for 5 years, wait for a new generation of Argie players to come up, have a new DC team constructed, and still have a realistic shot at winning DC. Because Nalby, IMO, is aware of the clock ticking, any time DelPo doesn’t prioritize DC enough (according to Nalby) or doesn’t make himself available to play DC, its a huge deal. Because after all, DelPo could always go on to win it later on in his career. Nalby doesn’t have that luxury. Plus, DelPo’s name is already etched in tennis history through his GS…Nalby doesn’t have that.

    But, by making DC into such a huge deal and increasing the animosity through all this drama, how in the world is that going to make DelPo more willing to play DC? It does seem like the criticism has affected DelPo (his decision to hire a publicist, I think, speaks to that.) But, I wonder how much the criticism matters? I feel like DelPo has to be aware that he gets criticized regardless if he doesn’t play DC or if he does play. Maybe the whole thing will strengthen his resolve to concentrate on his personal career this year.

    • mariposaxprs says:

      Before the locker-room antics happened, I was thinking that Team Argentina seemed to be getting along peacefully. I guess that was a sign something dramatic like this would eventually happen!

      Your take on the Shakespearean tragedy that is the Argie DC team is spot on! From a negotiations standpoint, DelPo currently holds the cards. He’s higher ranked and he’s younger, which means he’ll hopefully have more chances to go far with DC. Nalby, on the other hand, only has a couple more shots (esp since he’s expecting a child this year). What’s more, Nalby’s days of playing 3 rubbers per tie are over. This is why I hope Nalby could make more of an effort to compromise — after all, he’s the one who currently “needs” this more. To an extent, I feel like Nalby should say, “I had my time in the sun and now it’s the younger guy’s turn to be the leader.” But I’m not sure Nalby is the type to concede his leadership position on the team.

      According to Ole (http://www.ole.com.ar/copa-davis/titulo_0_859114140.html), after the Argie team sang the songs mocking DelPo, they sang another song that praised Nalby. This team is such a walking mess! I think DelPo distanced himself from DC after the drama that followed their SF loss last year. That was an instance where he risked his health to play, only to be criticized. In that sense, I think he could do w/o DC this year. It’s too much emotional drama and it’s toxic. It seems extreme, but DelPo’s decision not to play DC this year looks smart. No need to risk even more fallout w/this current team set-up.

      • Wow, these boys really like to sing! You’re totally right — this team is such a mess!!

        I think another aspect of the problem though, is that even if Nalby takes a step down, will DelPo even be able to assume the leadership position? He’s younger than the rest of them and he doesn’t seem to possess that personalty type most associated with leaders, you know? But, you know, I get the feeling that if the players can’t sort this out themselves, eventually the Argie tennis federation is going to do it for them. I wouldn’t be too surprised if Jaite goes this year or the next and someone more DelPo-friendly gets appointed as Captain. I mean, Nalby might not be willing to step down, but the powers that be have to be well-aware of the situation. Like you said, DelPo holds the cards in this negotiations.

        Anyway, I agree with you — DelPo not playing DC looks like the smart decision!

        • mariposaxprs says:

          That’s an interesting point you raise, about whether or not DelPo has the personality to be a leader. After the SF last yr, Jaite actually mentioned this himself — he implied that someone like Pico actually has more leadership capability than DelPo. I thought that was wrong of Jaite to speak to the press about this issue, but I guess he raises a somewhat valid point. I do think it’s possible for DelPo to be the leader of the team, maybe in a co-captain capacity w/Pico. Pico could be the jolly cheerleader while DelPo does his silent commander thing 🙂 In any case, it’s always going to be tough for the next leader to fill Nalby’s shoes.

          Jaite is on a two-year contract, so there will be a discussion at the end of 2013 about whether or not he continues on as captain. I’m hoping they elect someone who’s less controversial.

  2. Candy says:

    I really appreciated Team ARG effort to make though to the next round. It was very difficult for them. To be honest, I thought they would probably lose it, so I was very down all day on Friday. At that point, I kind of hoped Delpo was playing because I really didn’t want to see ARG lose in 1st round. I kind of understand how sad some people were about Delpo’s absence. Anyway, I was happy ARG made though.
    Then, I hoped (AAT would consider firing Jaite and) Delpo would consider a comeback.

    BUT then, the drama!!! :/ Now Delpo probably won’t consider a comeback. You had that kind of celebration & not knew “Who?” Delpo is after only winning the 1st tie?! I mean, go win the whole thing before you say anything or making fun of anybody! (But if you’re classy, you wouldn’t act like that even if you won the whole thing, right?)

    Glad Pico & Charly denied the taunting, but of course they denied it. Did you really expect Pico would say “Yes, we/ they had sung songs to taunt Delpo”?! (The lyrics rhyme even in English. Lol)

    (But of course, I hope everything was not true or just mistaken. I hope Zeballos couldn’t hear the question clearly so he had to ask “Quien”. I hope everything was just fired up by the media.)

    • mariposaxprs says:

      I’m glad Argentina made it past Germany. Before the R1 DC tie, I was a bit conflicted about DelPo’s decision not to play DC for all of 2013. To some extent, I think he deserved a small bit of criticism for his choice, although I ultimately side with DelPo’s final decision.

      But given what happened after ARG’s win, I’m now convinced DelPo had his reasons for not electing to play. So far, Pico & Charly deny the songs happened. I’m inclined to believe it was Zeballos/Nalby/Jaite who instigated the songs about DelPo. Somehow, I think Pico & Charly are sane enough that they don’t get *too* carried away with the political side of DC. Also, Zeballos was a DelPo-hater from the start.

      FueBuena wrote about the locker-room side of things, and they confirm that La Nacion & Ole both reported that the songs happened.

      I totally agree with you, a truly classy individual would not rub a victory in someone else’s face — esp if that victory was a R1 tie against a weak GER team. I’m disappointed by the overall impression I have of the ARG team (They seem petty & narrow-minded). If they really want to win the DC trophy, they need to change their attitude. To some extent, I think Nalby needs to change his attitude as well. If Nalby were still a fully-fit top player, he could act like a king. But the sad truth is, Nalby’s not as fit as he was before — I feel like he hasn’t fully accepted that though. I like Nalby but he’s def a challenging personality!

      As for DelPo, I hope he says no to playing the QF against France. He needs to maintain his position on DC & wait until Jaite’s reign is over. It’s sad that Alex Corretja (Spain’s DC Captain) is out, while someone like Jaite still gets to keep his job =/

      • Candy says:

        Haha. You taunted me like that. Then, you expect I would cooperate with you?! Lol

        What Mega said is so true: “He gets criticized regardless if he doesn’t play DC or if he does.” 😥 Even when he played his heart out, even when he risked my health to play, he still got criticized. What’s worse? Even the CAPTAIN, who is supposed to support his players and have the responsibility to maintain/ build up the harmony in the team, only knows how to blame his players for the failure! AAT don’t consult players during the important decision-making process. Ok then, BYE!

        Spain’s DC Captain: “Players are on their own to decide if they want to play or want to rest. Our players didn’t come because their calendars are very busy and they chose another option but we have no regrets about the ones who didn’t come or the ones who were here.” This is CLASS. Did he blame his players (who didn’t come and who were there) for the failure? NO!

        • mariposaxprs says:

          To me, Jaite hasn’t handled his captain responsibilities very well. The part where he speaks to the media bout internal team matters is a pretty big problem. If he wants to say something, he’s better off speaking directly to DelPo or to his team. Plus, the AAT don’t consult their players on the big decisions — that’s always been a problem with Team Argentina. I don’t see who would want to take this job and the drama it involves!

          Corretja was so classy! Spain was in a very tough position this year, but they managed to stick together as a team, despite the loss. I think GGL made one small criticism about the players who skipped the tie, but overall, Corretja maintained his composure. DC is all about the players. It’s not about the captain’s ego, and I think Corretja and the Armada captains before him really understand that. Corretja convinced Ferru to play DC last year, but he respects why Ferru doesn’t want to play this year. Why can’t ARG be like that? *sigh*

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