Portugal Open: DelPo Announces He Will Not Defend His Title at Portugal

The stage was all set for him: two-time Portugal Open champion DelPo had been gearing up for a 3-peat at the scenic 250-tournament that is a surprisingly beloved haven of top tennis stars (former champions include Federer, Djokovic, Gaudio, Ferrero and Moya).

Yet on the Friday before the tournament was due to start, DelPo announced his withdrawal from the tournament, due to a viral illness.  Per Sebiastian Torok, DelPo is currently having trouble with a viral disease that affected his breathing and gastrointestinal tract (including fever and dehydration side effects).

DelPo’s communication manager, Jorge Viale, released a statement on Twitter.  Viale communicated that DelPo had been in bed with fever and vomiting this Monday and Tuesday.  Although he returned to very light training on Wednesday and Thursday, he went by the recommendation of his doctor to the skip the tournament, as his training had been compromised.

DelPo will now be making his scheduled return on clay (after his disappointing showing at Monte Carlo) at Madrid.

Earlier this week, it had been reported that DelPo’s coach Franco Davin would not be traveling with DelPo to the Portugal Open.  What does this all add up to?

DelPo’s unexpected decision to withdraw from the Portugal Open may be part of his overall plan to maximize his points at the big tournaments.  In the past two years since his comeback, DelPo had picked up a fair number of injuries en route to his title wins at the Portugal Open: He incurred a left rectus muscle injury during his title win at the Portugal Open in 2011 (which led to his MTO during his R1 at Madrid vs Youzhny and eventually led to his walkover against Nadal in R3).  In 2012, he defeated Gasquet in the Estoril final, but incurred yet another injury in his knee, which would habitually bother him throughout Roland Garros.

By skipping the Portugal Open, DelPo may be preparing himself for a greater showing at the bigger tournaments, where he can gain more ranking points.  DelPo had unexpectedly traveled back home to Argentina, straight after his unexpected loss to Nieminen at Monte Carlo.

That said, DelPo’s withdrawal from his title defense at the Portugal Open adds yet more importance to his reappearance at Madrid.  As we saw from his performance at Monte Carlo, DelPo is still struggling to adapt to clay.  While the Portugal Open would’ve given him more room to find his feet, a straight return to Madrid requires a far more efficient preparation on his part.  So far in 2013, DelPo has lost 4 matches to lower-ranked players (Chardy at AO, Simon at Marseille, Kamke at Miami, Nieminen at Monte Carlo).  For comparison sake, DelPo only lost 3 matches to lower-ranked players for all of 2012.  He is clearly falling behind in consistency in 2013, although he has added extra volatility to his game to make a bolder play to defeat the top players (as evidenced by his showing at IW this year).

**This post will be updated as more quotes and information are found.

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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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20 Responses to Portugal Open: DelPo Announces He Will Not Defend His Title at Portugal

  1. Howdy! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using
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  2. audiesgirl@aol.com says:

    So Delpo had a relapse and is sick as a dog again. Did I say “I told you so?” It sounded like a serious illness, not one you bounce back from in a few days. He should be in a hospital getting intravenous meds and hydration. He can kiss the clay season goodbye. It’s a darn shame….http://espndeportes.espn.go.com/news/story?id=1788020&s=ten&type=story

    • mariposaxprs says:

      This is causing serious frazzle. If DelPo had been hospitalized, I guess we would have heard by now, right? I hope he gets his bloodwork done, so that everything gets checked. The sooner the better when it comes to finding out about health problems 😦 This is such an unexpected twist in events!!! Why does this keep happening?

      I wrote a new post with the communication from DelPo’s media guy (he’s been busy lately, with all the news).

      • audiesgirl@aol.com says:

        Another unfortunate chapter in the on-going drama that began last year. His father Daniel is a veterinarian and we can assume he’s on top of things and whatever treatment he requires can be provided in his residence; hospitals are notorious for infections so it’s best to stay away from them whenever possible. Did Karlovic play Monte Carlo and thus a possible source? Let’s hope the contagion is confined.
        Recovery entails both physical and mental issues. If Juan’s depressed from all the bad luck he’s had, some of his own making, then that will complicate his recovery. I hope all the other players, esp. his idol Roger, are sending him good wishes to lift his spirits. When he does get back on his feet I hope he reconsiders his life’s goals and finds a path that works best for him. He’s missed out on the best years of a young man’s life chasing the pelotita and has to decide if it’s worth it if numero uno isn’t in the cards.

  3. I’m totally bummed about his withdrawal! Estoril is seriously one of my favorite tournaments during the year….oh well, now I’ll root for Stan 🙂

    I don’t think the Franco thing was a big deal. Maybe Franco had a family commitment or something…I think I remember Franco not being there for the Asia swing one year and it didn’t seem like a big deal within Team DelPo.

    I’m more interested in, like you said, why he went back to Argentina in the first place? I remember last year he said in an interview he was going to stop flying back and forth so much! I mean, I don’t doubt he’s sick, but I’m just wondering if he caught a viral infection on the flight? He really needs to establish a European base. With half the season in Europe, it just makes sense.

    .

    • mariposaxprs says:

      Me too, it was surprising! 😦 Estoril holds a very special place in my tennis fan heart. It’s so strange, but I feel like a lot of other fans feel that way about Estoril too. Maybe it’s the scenic venue and all the seaside activities that the players do for publicity. So many good memories there for DelPo too.

      Ferru accepted a last-minute WC to play the tournament, so I guess he’ll be fighting for it against Stan. I’m cheering for Stan to win though, b/c it’s been a long time since he’s won a tournament.

      I agree w/you that the detail about Franco wasn’t a big deal. I’m curious too why he flew back home after MC. Isn’t that like a 14-hour flight each way? I guess DelPo and his team forgot about their attempts to “reduce travel time.” When DelPo played MC, one of the commentators for his match was talking about how much tougher it is for South Americans and Australians to adjust to life on tour, b/c everything is so much farther away. Europeans and Americans have it the easiest in terms of travel. Given how DelPo isn’t playing DC this year, an apartment in Monte Carlo doesn’t sound like the worst idea ever ….

  4. Candy says:

    I thought Delpo would stay in Europe after MC, but he chose to go home. Maybe he shouldn’t have played MC at all and should have focused on his training at home.

    His illness seems serious?! 😦 (Maybe Franco also has similar kind of illness?! Or maybe family matter?!) Poor Delpo & Franco. Delpo’s road has never been easy, but it seems even more “complicated” this year. But it is how it works, isn’t it? After setbacks/ difficulties, Tennis Gods would give Delpo something good. It has been working in this way for so long. So we can hope for something big now.

    • mariposaxprs says:

      I’m confused by why he chose to go home after MC too. It’s so much extra travel time to go back and forth. I almost wish he’d set up residence in MC and live there, like the other players do. But home is home. It was pretty random for him to play MC at the last minute. This clay season’s been confusing so far…

      I updated my post and added the link that DelPo’s communications manager posted on Twitter. DelPo was in bed with fever/vomiting on Monday and Tuesday. He could only do light training on Wednesday and Thursday. I was scared by the use of “viral,” b/c tennis players catch a lot of viral sicknesses. I’m hoping it was *only* a case of severe food poisoning — that would be much less worrisome, on the full scale of things.

      Franco announced he wasn’t going to Portugal a few days before DelPo withdrew. The whole team will be together in Madrid.

      Let’s hope DelPo preps hard and shows something big this year. I’d like him to find the right balance between consistency and volatility. Last year, he was 90:10 in consistency to volatility. So far this year, it feels like 20:80 the other way around. I feel like he had that “special mixture of balance” in the 2nd half of 2012, starting from the Olympics. Even when he lost to Djokovic at the USO, it was a high-quality match and he showed much more progress. Then he won Basel and defeated Fed at the WTF RR, after losing early to Llodra at Paris. I would be “OK” with that kind of mix.

      This year’s been pretty tough for DelPo, given his left wrist injury concern, which was a big worry. Let’s hope the tennis gods are kinder now.

      • Candy says:

        Maybe Franco has been having something back home so he had to go back. It might also be the reason why Delpo went back. He needed a good training WITH his coach after all before his “real” clay court season. Unfortunately, he got sick.

        No. Mono is one of the scariest things I heard in tennis (because you probably can’t control/ avoid it). Although Delpo’s illness sounds like just a food poisoning issue/ flu or something like that, a mere thought of it still scares me. Just learnt that Karlovic had a mild stroke. It makes me worry about players’ health even more. *fingers-crossed*

        • mariposaxprs says:

          Yup, I don’t think there’s any special link b/w Franco deciding not to be in Portugal and DelPo’s withdrawal. They may be related but the circumstances just didn’t make it possible for DelPo to play.

          I have a constant suspicion of viral illnesses happening to tennis plyrs, but as you say, there’s nothing to suggest that it’s anything beyond a flu/food poisoning. It could happen to anyone. I just heard the news about Karlovic’s stroke and that is seriously scary 😦 It’s tough to see such fit athletes deal with a serious health issue like that. I hope the best for him in his recovery.

          • audiesgirl@aol.com says:

            Remember the American tennis player Marty Fish whose career is seriously disrupted by a heart problem? Our local tennis sports writer is almost badgering him to get back on the tour. Some treat the matches like those sick reality show waiting for someone to collapse on the court. These guys are only human and the grueling ATP calendar is taking its toll. Tennis is not a blood sport. Something needs to be done about that.

            • mariposaxprs says:

              Yup, Fish has had a really tough time with health problems. He’s playing Challengers now, to get his ranking back up. That’s quite the fall, given how he’d played at the WTF in ’11.

              Fish’s situation was a bit unusual too. Prior to his heart problem (which was quite nerve-wracking for him), he had a thyroid problem too, which required special treatment/rest. Who knows, maybe the stress of travel/life on tour contributed to it. The tennis schedule is def crazy. It’s prob the only sport where a Master’s event took place right after the Olympics, quickly followed by another Master’s and then a Slam. Given the current structure and the interest groups involved, I don’t see much change taking place. I guess all a player can hope for is to make it to 30 y.o. without incurring too much damage. That’s a bit of a depressing thought, although there are quite a few players who are bucking that trend these days.

          • Candy says:

            Now it’s confirmed that Karlovic has meningitis instead of mild stroke. I googled “meningitis” and it scares me a bit because the symptoms of meningitis are similar to what Delpo has been having, e.g. fever, vomiting, etc. The infection may trigger rapid breathing. Viruses that cause meningitis include “enteroviruses” (which infect the gastrointestinal tract)/ HIV (for audiesgirl’s reference lol)/ some other kinds of viruses.

            Well, again, it can simply be a food poisoning in Delpo’s case. Hope we will have some more (positive) news from Delpo’s camp soon.

            And get well soon, Ivo. I like him. He’s such a funny guy!

            • mariposaxprs says:

              Yikes, Karlovic has meningitis? That’s a pretty serious condition. Last I heard, he was conscious and awake, so I guess he got to the hospital at the right time. Ivo has a fun character and I like seeing him on tour, even if he is always a constant threat. I hope he’s able to recover fully and return in the next few months.

              I don’t think DelPo’s illness is related to meningitis, b/c he was lightly training last week. From what I know, meningitis strikes very suddenly and it causes a person’s condition to rapidly deteriorate. Normally, when students live on-campus at university, the communal living situation means there’s a higher chance of getting meningitis, so students are advised to get the vaccine for it. I’ve heard of cases of “meningitis outbreak” at college/university. It’s really unfortunate that Ivo got hit by it. It’s the first time I’ve heard of a tennis plyr having meningitis 😦

              There’s no news yet of DelPo’s current state, but let’s hope indeed that the next news update from DelPo’s camp is a positive one!

  5. audiesgirl@aol.com says:

    Hmmm. He didn’t look too sick in fotos taken last weekend with a bevy of beauties outside a club. Maybe he caught something? Seriously, this plus the Franco news is very troubling, I hope his worthless press agent can clarify soon.

    • mariposaxprs says:

      Yea, I saw the party photos of him in Argentina. It was surprising b/c I didn’t think he’d head back home after MC. *Sigh.* He’s done so well so far, I hope he’s set to continue to focus full-time on his career. These are his good years.

      I think the news with Franco was just a coincidence. Maybe Franco had something to take care of in his own time, so he needed the week off. After all, Portugal Open is a 250-level, so that would be the time for him to attend to his other stuff.

      DelPo’s press agent just released a statement on Twitter (I just added the link to his message in my post above).

      • audiesgirl@aol.com says:

        It could be his immune system is stressed from all that traveling. His mom may still be recovering from her health crisis, too. It’s just a shame his plan for the year seems in shambles at the moment, maybe there is something to that “mala cara” thing; he is a superstitious fellow. Maybe he should have made a pilgrimage to Rome and present the Pope with a sport jersey like other Argie athletes seem to be doing. He’s not mentally resilient like Pico who keeps on smiling. It sounds like a serious virus and I hope he doesn’t push himself too hard to get back on tour too soon and suffer a relapse; he has to have lost weight this week from that virus and needs to take time to fully recover his physio.

        • mariposaxprs says:

          It sounds like a serious bug that he caught. I’m hoping it’s just a one-time stomach flu, rather than a viral illness that lingers for weeks. The last thing he needs is something like mono, which tends to strike people whose immune systems are battered. Let’s hope it’s nothing bordering on that level of serious.

          He travels too much. There’s a bit of unnecessary travel too, with his flying back home after going to Europe. Didn’t he fly back home after winning his bronze medal, before flying to Toronto for the Masters? Not that it’s easy to live out of a suitcase for months at a time. In any case, I hope he rests up, stays at home and then strengthens up during training.

          • audiesgirl@aol.com says:

            Let’s pray it is just a simple virus and not mono or heaven forbid, an STD. He’s so run down after 6 months of personal drama starting with the blowback from his DC decision. Rather than rest up during the off season, he plays those exhos. There’s something weird about having to go home at every opportunity. This is a pivotable stage in his career when he had to decide who he is, a “chico del barrio” or a world-class athlete – he can’t have it both ways and the internal conflict is taking its toll.

            • mariposaxprs says:

              Oh dear, that’s quite the suggestion!! There’s nothing yet to suggest it’s anything serious. It’s just a simple virus. That’s a relief.

              Good point about him making a decision about being a “chico del barrio” verus a “world-class athlete.” On some level, there probably is a conflict, esp given the distance between Argentina and the rest of the world. It’s easier to manage if said player is from Europe or America.

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