The 2013 Roland Garros has taken place and I will update later with a short summary of interesting match-ups. DelPo is not playing this year, due to complications from virus.
Meanwhile, DelPo’s media manager Jorge Viale (who founded the Fue Buena tennis site), posted a long comment on the Fue Buena site, in response to other commenters who were discussing DelPo’s rocky season. The original text of Viale’s comments in Spanish can be found at the Fue Buena site (Viale’s comment is #18 in the comments section).
English translation of Viale’s statement below:
“Hey, I make a return to these parts again.
I appreciate the jokes made on Twitter and the general commentary, which combines humor and serious analysis, which is a nice feature of [the comments section of Fue Buena]. To those who’ve messaged me and to those who worry about DelPo, I want to reply that logically, DelPo is not having the year he hoped for in terms of wins and results. It’s necessary to have patience.
Generally, we’re prone to exaggeration when speaking of victories and defeats, even when we joke. When DelPo reached the final at Indian Wells, a colleague told me, “DelPo is going to be no. 1.” This colleague has spent many years covering tennis, but he was perhaps jumping the gun a bit, no?
Right now, DelPo has to deal with the virus and the complications from it, including bronchospasms. He was coughing heavily when he was sick. He lost weight and was physically weakened. While he was not confined to strict bed rest for 15 days, he had to take a break from training (which is different from “total rest”). This means he wasn’t able to train and his activity was confined to hanging out and playing a few rounds of golf at a golf course, attending a Boca match and meeting with the magician Rene Lavand (http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.503450246375138.1073741827.245291448857687&type=1).
Even so, I had to read tweets from people I know, who said: “Hm, he doesn’t play tournaments and claims to be resting, yet he attends a soccer match for Boca?” Fair enough, master, the next time we will surround DelPo’s house with a guarded fence, not allow him to leave the grounds or entertain any visitors, and we will install a camera in the building in order to ensure he’s under “house arrest.”
This happens all the time: We not only judge the athletes for their accomplishments on the court, but also for what they do or fail to do outside the court, even when the latter has no influence on their athletic performance. In the past few months, however, I’ve learned that it is impossible to prepare for a tournament in two days, because athletes need a training block of weeks in order to be ready — otherwise, their performance suffers.
It’s not that DelPo was so sick that he was unable to get out of bed, nor did he decide beforehand not to play Roland Garros. Rather, he has a team of professionals who are guiding him and they decided that his current physical condition was not strong enough for a Grand Slam featuring best-of-5 sets and long points. In Miami, DelPo had a family problem and we saw how that affected his performance. Andy Murray made the same decision when he withdrew from Roland Garros: Murray could have played, but he was not at 100% and, in his case, he wants to be in the best possible shape to play his home Slam at Wimbledon.
It’s logical that DelPo is not in a great mood right now because he cannot do what he wants, he is not yet any closer to reaching his projected goals (fighting for the top ranking spots) and he cannot play Paris. However, this point should be emphasized: DelPo has faced several setbacks in his career and he has overcome them each time. The virus is his latest setback. In 2013 alone, DelPo has faced problems with his left wrist, a family problem while he played Miami, and now this virus during the clay season.
Yes, this is a long list of problems, which are also aggravated by the long travel hours: DelPo has to take minimum 10-hour flights in order to play any tournament, which is an inconvenience that no other player in the top 10 faces. Consider this: Of the top 30 players, DelPo and Juan Monaco are the only players that live outside Europe or the United States. Their long-distance travel requirements mean they have to adjust to drastic climate changes, except during the spring and fall (the southern hemisphere has opposite seasons). Should DelPo set up a base in Europe? This is not an easy decision, as it would mean having to spend a lot of time outside Buenos Aires and his hometown Tandil. This is a problem that troubles most South American tennis players, who have to travel so far away from home.
Well, I’ve just written more on this site than I’ve written in the past few months. I will not follow up with any replies, as you know (so please do not ask me questions on this site, but please comment as you please, debate and make jokes). Thank you for your comments, which are an integral part of the Fue Buena community.”
This seems like a fair explanation of DelPo’s decision to withdraw from Roland Garros. We’ve seen players like Djokovic and Rafa engage in other activities, even when they were injured (Djokovic with his charity soccer matches and Rafa with his golf, etc). While the notion of injury implies “bed rest” for many fans, that’s probably too black/white of an assumption.
One interesting point that Viale raised in his comments is his rhetorical question (at least, I take it to be a rhetorical question) of whether DelPo should relocate to Europe. Has the idea crossed DelPo’s mind?