Verdasco Seals Spanish Davis Cup Victory After Nervy 5-Set Win
by Sean Randall | November 23rd, 2008, 2:14 pm
  • 67 Comments

No Rafael Nadal. No problem for Spain who still captured the Davis Cup title over home favorite Argentina without the services of their World No. 1. Spanish lefty Fernando Versdasco sealed the victory today after rallying to beat Jose Acasuso 6-3, 6-7, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the Davis Cup final played in Mar Del Plata, Argentina.

What a crazy match. What a crazy tie.

Verdasco was penciled in for the subpar David Ferrer while Acasuso replaced the injured Juan Martin Del Potro. And with the score 2-1 in Spain’s favor and David Nalbandian and Feliciano Lopez scheduled for the fifth rubber, it really was a winner take all kind of match (I think Nalbandian would have won that fifth) and the nerves and pressure showed.

In the biggest career match for either player, both Verdasco and Acasuso were understandably tight, tense and nervy. At times it was even tough to watch on TV (I can’t imagine the tension in the arena!). Witnessing a match like that really makes you appreciate the greats like Roger Federer and Nadal who keep together so easily under the most extreme pressures.

With Acasuso up 2-1 in sets, it looked like Argentina was going to get it to Nalbandian, but Jose all but caved in. By the fifth set Acasuso looked like a guy who didn’t want to even be out there. That’s too bad.

Full credit to Verdasco, though. He’s gotten his fair share of ribbing from many folks – myself included – for being an underachiever, but despite some early choking and double digits double faults, he came up huge today and yesterday in the doubles with buddy Feliciano Lopez.

And Spanish coach Emilio Sanchez deserves a nod for passing on Ferrer in favor of Verdasco, who really had never proven himself in a big pressure match situation. Great move by Sanchez.

As for Argentina, they absolutely had to have this title but the moment and maybe some bad luck got to them in the end.

Their rising star Del Potro gets injured in a singles loss to Lopez on Friday. That’s bad luck. But you could make the case it evens out with Spain’s Nadal loss. And without Nadal it was almost a catch-22 for Argentina having to play Lopez and Verdsaco on a fast hard court surface. Had it been known well in advanced that Spain would be without Nadal, Argentina would have surely chosen clay.

For me though the tie really swung in the Saturday doubles. After splitting the first two sets, Spain led 5-1 in the third but before jumping on the choke button allowing Argentina to roar back and force a tiebreak

But just when momentum seemed to have firmly shifted to the home nation, Argentina collapsed. Serving up 5-1 in the breaker a Spanish fan yelled out in mid-toss leading to a Nalbandian double fault. And that did it. Argentina was unable to win another point in that breaker subsequently falling 2-1 in sets. Argentina ultimately lost the match setting up today’s must-win fourth rubber. But that’s just part of the allure of Davis Cup.

Back to today, you have to really feel for Acasuso, who suffered his second 5-set defeat in a clinching rubber of a Davis Cup final, and the Nalbandian who I’m sure wanted this one badly.

Again, though, congrats to Spain. Without Nadal, playing in a hostile environment they could have easily rolled over but they didn’t. They kept their head and now they have three Davis Cup titles while Argentina remains stuck at zero. And who would have guessed that Lopez and Verdasco would figure in all three points leading to Spain’s triumph. I guess in some ways it’s a fitting conclusion to a very wacky season.

Viva Espana.


Also Check Out:
Fernando Verdasco Eats a Hamburger During Davis Cup 4th Set [Picture]
Nadal Leads Spain to Fourth Davis Cup Title
Nadal Bails on Davis Cup Tie Against U.S.
Rafael Nadal, Spanish Davis Cup Team Honored By PM Mariano Rajoy [Video]
Nalbandian, Argentina Close in on First Davis Cup Title; Roddick Hires a Coach

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67 Comments for Verdasco Seals Spanish Davis Cup Victory After Nervy 5-Set Win

mem Says:

great effort by argentina! i feel badly that they had to contend with injuries at this stage; however, injuries cannot be predicted, they can happen to anyone, at anytime. high marks to verdasco and his teammates for keeping their eyes on the prize! hats off to spain! you have made your fans proud.


Giner Says:

Wow.. seriously. This was Arg’s for the taking. With Nadal out and Ferrer slumping, Spain basically had a three-man team, while Arg had Nalbandian and Del Potro, two excellent players on any surface.

This becomes the first home defeat Arg has taken in like over 10 ties, and they are still without their first DC title.

I thought Arg had it in the bag as soon as it was revealed some no-name was replacing Nadal. That effectively meant he would not get any action other than in a dead rubber. I suppose this is the strength Spain has in depth. They’ve got the top player in the world, but the rest are not too shabby either.

Lopez is better on fast courts than on clay, so in hindsight perhaps Arg would have been better served hosting on clay (of course they wouldn’t have known Nadal would withdraw). The top 2 clay experts battling each other on the fastest indoor hardcourt Arg could build.. Who’d have thought that? Being clever backfired on them.

Congratulations to Spain. Nadal would have preferred to cap off his nice year with a victory in Arg too, but it’s nice also that the unsung heroes get their due.


Bob Lewis Says:

I know this is the end of a series, but Davis Cup seems kind of lame to me in that a few matches in three days doesn’t prove much. I feel like they should have been playing all week, perhaps round robin. I think tennis as a team sport still needs some work.

Perhaps Spain gives as much or more on its home court, but I thought Argentina should have lost some points on crowd interference. Spain won that raucous doubles match in spite of it. I can appreciate that paying crowds need to be allowed to have their fun, but they were obviously whistling and such, when Spain was trying to serve, dead quiet when the home team had serve. Without some level of enforcement, rude and marginally controllable crowds will become the norm no matter where the DC matches are held…well, maybe not in England. :>)


zola Says:

Sean,
great article. I just want to mention that Del Potro was injured in the last set. he had already lost two set while not injured.

I also agree with Bob Lewis that maybe the crowd has something to do with this too. The chants were rude at times especially on Saturday. That I think only motivated the Spaniards further. Of course Del Potro had said some not-very-nice things before the match that prompted some strange demonstrations from Argentine fans and media. I think that all made the Spanish armada more determined to win.

But anyway, again, my heart goes out to the Argentine players and specially Acasuso. I couldn’t watch him cry. They have been finalists in 2006, 2008. I hope they win it in 2009.


mem Says:

good point, Giner! its fantastic that unsung heroes get the chance to shine! verdasco/lopez were the shining stars of the final. rafa is probably somewhere singing their praises!


zola Says:

mem,
Rafa was on TV praising his team-mates and they praised Rafa over there. I really like that they are so close to each other.

some of the comments:

Sanchez:
“It was very tough for us because Fernando was fighting with the crowd and not listening to us.

“But he has been playing at a higher level than Acasuso all season and is very strong physically. He wasn’t even tired. We’ll celebrate with a lot of wine.”

Nadal,
who was forced to pull out with a knee problem, added: “To win away in any tie is difficult. But at Argentina, in front of its public where they chose the surface, this is history. A moment like this is unforgettable.”

Verdasco added:
“I have to remember Rafael Nadal because we played the Davis Cup final thanks to him. This is one of the happiest days in my life. I am so happy for playing the final.”
(from bbc.co.uk/sports)
*************

also :
“Spectacular,” Nadal said on Spanish state television. “Sincerely, this is history.”

Nadal said he would’ve loved to have been in Argentina to celebrate with his teammates.

“Moments like these, sharing them with your teammates are unforgettable,” Nadal said. “They played a tremendous tie – it’s time for them to enjoy it.”

(from tennischannel.com)


zola Says:

I too, agree with Giner. It was hard to see Rafa miss the final and he wanted to be there so badly, but this was the time for Feli and Verdasco and the rest of the team and they did great. It is their turn to shine,…. Vamos!


jann Says:

In this decade alone Argentina has had players of the calibre of Coria, Gaudio, Nalbandian, Chela, Canas, Calleri, Del Potro, and Acasuso. Other countries have done more with less to win DC, but we see a clearly not match ready Acasuso being sacrificed again. There has to be questions about strategy, and player selection. (Maybe it is right that Mancini vacates the post). Calleri keeps getting selected for doubles, but I don’t see any significant doubles results on tour. Even make shift Russian doubles teams have knocked them off. Then for a fast court, a middling level clay court player is chosen rather than an off-form Canas who has had much better results on the surface. Why no back-up? Overconfidence? Del Potro is young and untested in five set matches, he was going to be inured if pushed where he had not gone before, but no one thought of that. Some even said Spanish blood would flow!
Congrats to Spain. Argentina deserves better management, and their chance too.


redux Says:

and Rafa had nothing to do with it. This was a labor of love for Spain.

I feel bad for Acasuso. Denied again in the end.


zola Says:

jann
great comments. Argentina had everything to their advantage but was not able to use it. The selection of Calleri is very questionable. And why all the pressure on Acasuso?

One more thing was that there was so much tension between the Argentine players. I read that DP was not on good terms with Nalby and apparently Nalby and Calleri had a fight in the locker room after the doubles match. Nalby did not stay for the press conference and can be fined $10,000.

I think Spanish players worked better as a team.


mem Says:

zola, thanks for the excerpts of rafa’s and fernando’s comments. i, too, love the way they get along as a team. they all seems to work together for the good of all. that’s the way it should be! i’m a firm believer that when everyone uses their individual gift to the best of their ability, there’s no limit to what can be achieved. “where there is unity there is strength.”


Ezorra Says:

Zola and mem;

VAMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOS!!! :) :P :)


Andrew Miller Says:

Mr. Randall: I agree. This is the highlight of Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco’s career. Both of them won all of Spain’s singles and doubles matches. I considered both of them (Verdasco especially) the most under-achieving players in the top 50 on the ATP; now, I have nothing but applause for them because they did something Federer hasnt done, by themselves, for their team-mates and country, at the biggest moment, in hostile territory. It added fuel to the fire that all the insults they heard were in Spanish.

Hats off to Verdasco and Lopez. Sheesh. Verdasco goes down in my book as reaching his potential, and it’s doubly sweet to have a girlfriend like Ivanovic. And props to Feliciano Lopez. Didnt think he had it in him. Unbelievable. They can quit tennis tomorrow!


Von Says:

Too bad for Argentina and especially for Acasuso. The last tie with Russia left him inconsolable when he lost and again it was deja vu. Mancini certainly lacks in strategy. DelPotro was injured going into his first match and then he developed a further injury which caused him to lose. As I mentioned on the other thread, Mancini should have used Canas in the doubles or one of the singles matches. How could he have used Acasuso who has been on a decline and has not played for over a month. This loss will definitely remain with Acasuso for a long time similarly to when Paul Henri Mathieu lost a couple of years ago in DC — it took him a long time to recover. So sad for Nalby too who has given his heart in DC for over 7 years.

The Argentine crowd was a lot more well-behaved than the Spanish crowd was when the US played against them in the SFs, with twice the amount of people than at Argentina. The umpire did a wonderful job keeping the crowd in order. A pity the US didn’t have as good an umpire when they played in Spain in front of that boisterous crowd. Spain just got a smidgen of what the US had to endure. The Spanish spectators in Argentina were causing a ruckus all by themselves with the Argentine crowd.


zola Says:

Hopefully there will be a tie between USA and Argentina and then we can compare the behavior of the Spanish crowd to the Argentine crowd. The reports are there on the internet. One only has to “READ”!


Von Says:

Giner:

“The top 2 clay experts battling each other on the fastest indoor hardcourt Arg could build.”

I think many would have liked to see that match. too bad it didn’t happen.


zola Says:

Ezorra
VAMOOOOOOOOOOOOSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!
This was three days of great tennis. I am still sad for Chucho and Nalby. Seeing Chucho cry after the break in the 5th set and then after the defeat, was very hard to watch.

mem,
you are welcome.
The Spaniards are a great team and that keeps them together in tough times. More for you to enjoy:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5jdSTymNQZA7VpAbN472Ij1gxGRvA

spaniards celebrating
http://www.rtve.es/mediateca/videos/20081123/celebracion-por-todo-alto/347507.shtml

under the main window you can find more clips.


Twocents Says:

Von,

Thanks for the Bangkok exho info. I don’t think I’ll go. I never spend money on exho’s, even though I know part of the ticket income of these events go to charity. I watch Hollywood for drama, pro sports for competition J). The only reason I was pondering about Macao is I’ve never seen Borg play in person. I had lots of fun watching Jmac, Boris, Edberg, Agassi, Sampras etc in action unscreened by camera lenses and with no commentator noises. It’d be interesting to see the ice-cold Borg with a racquet. They do have a Golf/Tennis TV channel in China. But the commentaries are just plain unbearable.

I live in Texas, just have to travel a lot. It’ll be fun to go watch US-Swiss DC tie next spring if it’s indeed in San Antonio.

Congrats to Spain! A perfect ending for a year of Armada: Euro Cup, Wimbledon, Olympic Gold, and Davis Cup. Sorry for Argentine and Nalby. Bad luck.Have to wait for next time. But Argines had their share of luck: remember the infamous:”God’s hand” at World Cup’86?

Nadal contributed to this DC in two ways: He led the team to win the semi; and he brought the team a big advantage by NOT playing J). Happy ending for everyone, except those fans who bought final tickets to just see Nadal play. True fans wouldn’t mind since it’s for Rafa’s long term benefit.

Kudos for Sanchez to lead s Rafa-less team thru. He sure took lots of hits by telling Nadal to stay home. Win or lose, let every dog have its own day.


Von Says:

Two Cents:

You’re welcome.

Tennis Channel showed the match between Borg and McEnRoe, which Mc won. Wow, is Borg out of shape though. He loked spent and was breathing hard. I suppose a speading middle didn’t help againt a wiry McEnroe. Of course McEnroe had a few words with the linesmen, which is to be expected, but all in all he behaved himself. I find his rants to be humorous, but then again I like to laugh.

I also wouldn’t buy tickets for those exhos. I’d rather give my money to charity. for the time being, it’s a novelty, which in time, will pass; so let them enjoy it for as long as they can.

So you are my neighbor eh? I live in Florida — one of the reasons I like it that the Miami MS is played here. My brother lives in Dallas and last year I had this crazy thought to move there but then the heat in July made me change my mind. It would be great if the DC-Swiss tie were held in San Antonio just so you could see it without travelling too much. Maybe I’ll make the trip also. I’ll look for you in the crowd. :P

I feel very sad for Nalby — such a great player, but one who has not achieved his heart’s desires — Davis Cup. Maybe some other time. I can’t say next year because I want the US to win DC again. :D I want to see Roddick rock the house again.


Von Says:

TwoCents:

“Nadal contributed to this DC in two ways: He led the team to win the semi; and he brought the team a big advantage by NOT playing J)”

You’re hilarious. I hope the US get to return the favor next year to Spain. I’m amazed at the people who live in this country and root against it for the DC. I thought it was a country event and not a player event, thus rooting against the US because of their favorite player playing on behalf of another country doesn’t make sense to me. Where’s the country pride?


zola Says:

A nice article about Verdasco on the Davis Cup site:

http://www.daviscup.com/news/newsarticle.asp?articleid=15481

an interesting part:

****
…This was “the most beautiful day” of Verdasco’s life, and that is coming from a man who now has Ana Ivanovic, the delightful French Open champion, on his arm.

Ivanovic wasn’t in Mar del Plata to see Verdasco win the trophy for Spain. And the other absentee, of course, was Rafael Nadal, who missed the final because of an injury to his right knee, and instead spent the weekend following events from his hotel in Mauritius.
……..
************

also this part:
*******
The team spirit shown by the Spaniards – they mobbed Verdasco at the end, creating a red-shirted heap of bodies on court – contrasted with some of the stories that came out of Argentina’s locker-room. It appears as though Nalbandian didn’t exactly endear himself to his team-mates during the tie, with reports suggesting that he upset both Del Potro and Calleri.

So Spain were without Nadal, and Argentina were without team discipline, and it was Argentina who were left wanting.
************


Roy Says:

Von Says:

“….The Argentine crowd was a lot more well-behaved than the Spanish crowd was when the US played against them in the SFs, with twice the amount of people than at Argentina. The umpire did a wonderful job keeping the crowd in order…”.

The comments are dramatically misplaced: so much so, as if, two different sets of DC Final matches have been watched !!

I sat through all three days of the Final matches and can convincingly, report that the Argentine crowd was so overly-raucous and so overly-boisterous (the stress is on ‘overly’ because it is DC after-all), especially in the Doubles Tie, that I had to put TV on mute-button and then watched the remainder of the match. I even recall the Argentine Captain had to stand-up and repeatedly gesture to crowd to calm down during this match becasue the umpire, Pascal Maria’s pleas for silence during serves were falling on deaf years.

So it was good that Lopez-Verdasco duo ultimately triumphed in that decisive tie and set the stage for their dramatic ‘away’-win in DC Final.

Since DC epitomizes team-efforts, Full kudos to Spain to keep their calm and register their sparkling win and impressive win in a hostile environment, where nothing from Court to Crowd was in their favour.

Hence, as Randall very aptly said, let me add in chorus in full measure :”VIVA ESPANA”.


gulu Says:

I was totally rooting for Argentina and it lost the Davis Cup to Spain !!! So I’m not feeling particularly happy at the moment. The sad thing for me’s that I’m really very sad for Nalby & co.But I swear I was truly happy to see Fernando & Lopez so happy!


gulu Says:

There’s one more good thing about yesterday’s Davis Cup final and that is -Spain won it without Nadal !!! It shows that none’s bigger than the sport ! ;-) :-) And most of all my heart-felt congrats to the Spanish coach Emilio Sanchez! :-)


gulu Says:

Though I was rooting for Argentina I’d already sensed a victory for Spain,particularly after Rafa pulled out coz I knew everyone except a few guys like me would write the Spanish team(sans Rafa) off now & that’s what’d motivate the Spanish men to win !


Von Says:

Roy:

everything is a matter of perception and we live is different parts of the world. The feeds I saw there was nothing of the sort as you mentioned. I’m sorry you had to put your TV on mute. I had to do the same when the US played against Spain in Madrid.


Von Says:

gulu:

“There’s one more good thing about yesterday’s Davis Cup final and that is -Spain won it without Nadal !!! It shows that none’s bigger than the sport.”

Great comment and so true. Only one that’s greater and that’s the Almighty, however, some worship these althletes as though they are some deity, and think of them as though they’re indispensable. People, lose perspective as to who’s in control, and it’s at those times that they are shown that these athletes are just mere mortals as we are.


gulu Says:

Argentines must indeed regret saying they’d have preferred to beat Spain with Rafa playing. And they lost to a Spain sans Rafa !!! How could Argentina even think before the match’s start that it’s gonna walk away with the Copa Davis !! ? What a shame !!!


gulu Says:

Thanks ever so much dear Von for your post, which is nice as always ! :-) I must admit that I’d already sensed trouble for Argentina when most people (I didn’t) started calling them favourites,even Federer said so !!! And the result’s before us ! ;-)


Von Says:

gulu:

I wanted Argentina to win too, because of Nalby, but I had huge doubts about DelPotro. When everyone was jumping on his bandwagon, I kept saying I wanted to see more of him to be convinced that he’s the real thing. He gets injured too often, also he’s never played in a DC final. I believe Mancini’s mistake was to place too much emphasis on Del Potro and didn’t have a Plan B when he lost in the 2nd rubber. Mancini should have used Canas against Verdasco instead of Acasuso. I believe Del Potro is an injury prone type athlete and has fitness issues as well.

On paper, Argentina looked like the favourites, but in reality none of the Spanish players were injured. Mancini’s plan backfired on him. there’s always another year, except Nalby is getting older and has that problem with his hip.

Smile, everything’s OK, it’s just a sport. P :D


gulu Says:

Dear Zola,I really liked the article about Fernando Verdasco ! I was also happy about the man when he ceased the greatest moment of his life in the form of Davis Cup win.Same is my feeling for Felicano Lopez! Especially coz it’s great to be Rafael Nadal in Spain ,but hard to be a Ferrer/Verdasco/Lopez ,alas ! These lower ranked players are really paid very very little attention in comparison to the likes of Roger Federer ,that’s why I’m even happier for these lesser-cared-about players like Verdasco! Let them enjoy their moments of glory ! Amen !


MMT Says:

At the end of the day, it’s all about squad depth. This is, after all, an imperfect test of the best tennis playing nation in world. Injuries, surface selection, experienced players, etc. – that all goes to squad depth: Spain has it, Argentina doesn’t.

I know why Mancini chose del Potro even though he was already injured: because his squad lack depth, and he had no choice. And I know why he chose Acasuso to replace del Potro…you get the picture.

I don’t think you can argue that another doubles player would have done better than Calleri and Nalbandian – they played well enough to win – they just blew it, and Lopez and Verdasco are a good doubles team. Again, some countries have quality doubles players that can combine well to win – I’ve seen Rafa and Lopez play together as well – Argentina don’t…squad depth.

Basically Spain won because they have a deeper squad, and their players were good enough, fit enough and courageous enough to answer the call. I, for one, will not put this down to “bad luck”.

As for the crowds – I’m sorry, but I don’t accept this. None of these players grew up playing in silence – they’ve forgotten what’s it’s like to play with someone (a coach, a parent, passing traffic or other courts) blaring in their ear, but THEY’VE ALL DONE IT before. And this is standard for Davis Cup – crowds shout during points, in between serves, and even during the service motion.

These are professional tennis players, and they should just get on with it. I saw Nalbandian curse the crowd in Acapulco when they yelled just as he was serving down match point against Nico Almagro this year – even then I though this was ridiculous, but in Davis Cup – come on, pull your socks up!

I can remember watching the US lose to Paraguay 20 years ago, and after Pecci beat Krickstein in the deciding rubber, EVERY SINGLE linesman on the court jump out of their seats to celebrate, this was after things were thrown onto the court from the crowd, etc. – mind you I’m not condoning throwing things on the court.

I’m merely pointing out that this is not Wimbledon, and that’s part of what makes it so special, and if grown men can’t hack it under those circumstances, they don’t deserve to win on the road.

Let’s not get rid of one of the main ingredients that makes Davis Cup so special – if it weren’t for that, it’d be just like any other idiotic crap tournament in the middle of nowhere that nobody wants to watch.

Hats off to the Spaniards.


MMT Says:

BTW – Tennis Channel has what should be some good classic tennis for the next three nights starting tonight at 8:30, I believe. I’ve never seen these matches, but it was a US clay court (har-tru) event which Borg won 4 out of the 5 times it was held. He beat Connors 3 years in a row from 77 to 80.

I point this out because (1) I don’t like Jimmy Connors and (2) a couple of years ago had the temerity to suggest that Federer was lucky he was playing in a weak era

…Of course it turns out that he himself, lost to Borg something like 12 out of 13 times they played between 1978 and 1981, so I guess Borg played in a weak era too – a weak era that included McEnroe, Connors, Gerulaitis, Tanner, Nastase, Vilas, Kriek – all of whom regularly lost to Borg for 4 years…but I digress.


MMT Says:

Tonight is McEnroe v Vilas in the 3rd place match. Fascinating stuff. If you have a chance, take a look at Vilas’s running forehand on clay – looks a lot like another muscular spanish-speaking lefty we know – and it turns out McEnroe wasn’t so bad on clay – maybe not his best surface, but not bad!


zola Says:

gulu dear,
I am sorry that one of the teams had to lose. Believe me I still have 5he image of Chucho in my mind. I hope they get it this year.

And I agree , it was great that the team won without Rafa. As MMT says, just shows the depth of the Spanish tennis. They were able to win on hard courts aginst Argentina!

this is what Rafa said:
****
“(Sanchez Vicario) knew how to create this team spirit among all the players. I am just one more player in the squad and he has proved that,” Nadal told Spanish television after watching the final back home.
******
http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/24112008/58/davis-cup-spanish-media-hail-davis-cup-triumph.html

this is a great team. Rafa was on the streets of Manacor celebrating with people and had been calling his team mates during the matches.

I think his absence let Lopez and Verdasco shine and I am so happy for it. Also hats off to Sanchez Vicario for all the right decisions he made.

It is unfortunate that he is leaving the Spanish DAvis cup at the end of this year. What a way to leave a job! but he has his own academy and business and this takes a lot of time for him.


zola Says:

Roy,
Thanks for great comments.

I don’t know Spanish, so watching the matches, I did not find the Argentine crowd’s behavior very rude or strange. But on Saturday after the match, I read the news and found out all the chants and singings were very rude (F*** ) words, especially towards verdasco.

But Verdasco said the cursing motivated him more to win.

They also threw things in the court and on the first day they were chanting rude words against Rafa during Ferru-Nalby match.

Del Potro made some comments against Rafa a few weeks before the match. Rafa dismissed it and said he is a friend. But those remarks prompted some rude chants and demonstrations before and during the match. The clips I saw from the Argentine media were not pleasant.

But all in all, these actions created more pressure to win for the Argentine players. During the second and third days, Mancini said his players are under tremendous pressure. It also motivated the Spanish players even more.

But all was forgotten when Spain won the fourth match. Lopez went to the Spanish fans and asked them to chant “ARGENTINA…..ARGENTINA…..” and they did…. and the Spanish and Argentine fans stayed together for the ceremony and watched white and blue confetti being poured on the Spanish players.

I hope Argentine fans see their own team win next year and I hope Nalby and Chucho to be part of that team.


Sean Randall Says:

After reflecting on the result 24 hours, this has to be an absolutely crushing loss for Argentina and especially for Nalbandian who had really made winning the Davis Cup a top priority this season. He must be devastated, and I wonder just how he’ll recover for next year.

Unfortunately, though, this was probably Argentina’s best shot at it for a long, long time to come.

I think given the situation Mancini made all the right moves, and would make them again had Rafa withdrawn so late as he did and given the Del Potro injury. I think he was right to go with Acasuso who had bigger serve over other options like Canas (who wasn’t even on the team I don’t think), Calleri of Schwank.

About the only questionable decision was Del Potro playing in Shanghai risking fatigue and injury. And rumor has it that Nalbandian and JDMP nearly came to blows Friday night over his attendance in the Masters Cup. But it’s hard to fault him for going.

That said, injury aside JDMP has to beat Lopez but he tightened up and didn’t.

But again, full credit to Lopez/Verdasco who handled the situation and their nerves better.

As for the crowd, they were bad but I’ve seen worse. It’s too bad we didn’t get to a fifth and final rubber, then we would have seen some serious hostility!

But overall I don’t mind it when they get rowdy. That’s part of what I like about Davis Cup.


zola Says:

Sean,

so you take no blame for your “jinxing the Argentines”?. :)

I think it was more than rowdy,…believe me! but it is all over now.

In case of a 5th rubber, the cup would have been Argentina’s. No one could have stopped Nalby to win it, especially in that stadium.

I just read about Nalby-DP altercation in the locker room and apparently Calleri separated them, but Nalby was so furius he left without attending his press conference.
I agree that no one can blame DP for going to Shanghai. There were differences before that on choice of venue ( Nalby wanted Cordoba) as well.

Again hats off to the Spanish armada for their amazing win.


Sean Randall Says:

Sorry Zola, i’m not taking any blame for the jinx!

I agree with though had it gone to a 5th rubber, David would have won, that’s why that fourth was so important for both teams – i think even Spain must have known this was their only chance.


gulu Says:

Next year my 100 percent loyalty would be for the Swiss team and Roger Federer ! Come on Swiss guys,the Davis Cup 2009 is yours !!!


JJFAN Says:

Von wrote:

I wanted Argentina to win too, because of Nalby, but I had huge doubts about DelPotro. When everyone was jumping on his bandwagon, I kept saying I wanted to see more of him to be convinced that he’s the real thing. He gets injured too often, also he’s never played in a DC final. I believe Mancini’s mistake was to place too much emphasis on Del Potro and didn’t have a Plan B when he lost in the 2nd rubber.

[JJAN]

On the other hand, using your top 10 player was a no brainer. Imagine the Monday morning quarterbacking otherwise.


JJFAN Says:

SeanRandall wrote:

About the only questionable decision was Del Potro playing in Shanghai risking fatigue and injury. And rumor has it that Nalbandian and JDMP nearly came to blows Friday night over his attendance in the Masters Cup. But it’s hard to fault him for going.

[JJFAN]

I don’t know about this year, but in 2009 any qualifier is required to participate in the Masters Final. Nalbandian missed the cut for Shanghai, but Del Potro was expected to be there. In any case, there was major money at stake, and who was going to tell JMDP he had no shot at a big cut of it? Who was going to pay him to stay home?


Sean Randall Says:

JJFan, what could have Mancini done for “Plan B”?

JMDP could have easily feigned injury and skipped Shanghai. He would have suffered a fine I’m sure but he would have easily made any shortcoming provided he helped lead his team/country to a Davis Cup title.

I think what he did was right, but it sounds like David didn’t think so.


Von Says:

MMT:

You beat me to the punch. I was going to mention the matches this week on the Tennis Channel – classics of yesteryear with Gerulaitis and Connors, McEnroe, et al. They should be fascinating, since I’ve never seen them.

I didn’t know Connors had made those remarks about Borg playing in a weak field. Oh well, the milk of human kindness didn’t seem to flow too freely from Jimmy’s veins, so I’m not too surprised he stated such.

On Saturday TC will be airing Smash Hits, WTT, and Roddick will be playing. It’s a delyed broadcast because those matches were played the weekend prior to Madrid. Andy played in WTT, then hopped a plane for Madrid and played on the Tuesday late night match there. At the time, I was a bit disappointed TC didn’t air the WTT matches, but now I’m happy, because it’s something to which i can look forward now that the Tennis season has gone into hibernation.

_______________
You’re correct about Argentina lacking depth in their team, not to mention that with the exception of DelPotro, the other players are getting up there in years. Calleri is already 32.

I also agree with Sean that the 4th Rubber is the crucial one. I felt that way when the US played against Spain and feel had the order of play been different for Argentina whereby Nalby played in the 4th rubber and won it, the tide might have changed in Argentina’s favor, same as for the US. However, it was not meant to be that way for Nalby. I think the one who will be most psychologicaly scarred by the situation is Acasuso; this is the second time he was placed in the deciding rubber situation and has come up short. Another sacrificial lamb similar to Paul Henri Mathieu.

“This is, after all, an imperfect test of the best tennis playing nation in world. Injuries, surface selection, experienced players.”

You’re absolutely correct! We shouldn’t guage any nation’s perfection and performance by Davis Cup. In each team there are some good and bad players from the country, who pool their talents on behalf of their country, hence not an accurate benchmark as to their prowess and/or excellence in playing on surfaces, etc.

Enjoy the upcoming matches. :P


JJFAN Says:

Sean:

JJFan, what could have Mancini done for “Plan B”?

[JJFAN]

I wasn’t commenting on that. I was comenting on Plan A. Others would know better than I the nuances of how to use players that have not been of top 10 caliber lately.

I guess I would have held Nalbandian out as the wild card, ensuring a strong finish and doubles options rather than going for early momentum. They were already in trouble when Nalby was the key resource in both singles and doubles. He could have been tired playing singles on the back side of the doubles match. Still, he would have been the most likely to pull it off, assuming a doubles match is not so punishing.


zola Says:

JJfan,
**I guess I would have held Nalbandian out as the wild card, ensuring a strong finish and doubles options rather than going for early momentum. **

that’s interesting suggestion but I am not sure if it would have been possible.

Since Nalby in No 2 player. I am not sure if MAncini could have kept him as a wild card. I think if he was in the team, he had no choice but play the first rubber.

There was more flexibility with the doubles team choice however. Again for the third day, there was no choice but for Nalby to play the second rubber.

But if JMDP was out of the team, then the sequence would have changed. Someone ( Maybe Monaco) would have played Ferrer. Perhaps Nalby would have played Feli and on Sunday, Nalby would have played first.

Well, it is now over. I guess we would have doubted Sanchez’s decisions if the Spaniards had lost.


Debra Gardner Says:

Rist of all, congratulations to Spain and especially to Feli and Fernie! They really “stepped up to the plate” as it were and got the job done. I was actually pulling for Argentina and I feel really bad for Acasuso because he can’t walk away with any positives. Nalby can at least know that he played sparkling tennis and won his match, whereas chucho walks away with nothing, and for the second time too. I just hope that Argentina doesn’t get on his case too much for losing.


Giner Says:

Von says:

“You’re hilarious. I hope the US get to return the favor next year to Spain. I’m amazed at the people who live in this country and root against it for the DC. I thought it was a country event and not a player event, thus rooting against the US because of their favorite player playing on behalf of another country doesn’t make sense to me. Where’s the country pride?”

My question to you is.. what if Roddick was French? Would you lose interest in him? And if he plays an American, you would root for the American?

What if Nadal was American? I think national pride is a bit shallow in international sport. It means the number one reason you like a player is the three letters after his name. There’s got to be more to like in a player than just that. It’s a shallow reason to like a player. Didn’t you used to be Brittish? Was it easy to change allegiances that quickly?

In my case, forgetting the fact that my countrymen don’t stand a snowball’s chance in Hell of doing anything notable, I like being pleased by players who deliver the goods. I like seeing records get broken and rare, amazing feats be achieved. Federer’s been good to me over the years. Not too many disappointments, and he has provided a spectacle every time I watch him, dazzling me with his exquisite shotmaking and one-of-a-kind talent. I just don’t get this from any of my compatriots, or from the Americans for that matter. I was extremely disappointed when Federer abandoned his team not long after rising to the greatest heights of tennis. They needed him, because they didn’t have anyone else they could fall back on, and he simply turned his back on them.

A fan should be free to admire and root for whoever they want. Michael Phelps is a big fan of Nadal. I know flag burning is illegal over there, but being unpatriotic is still protected by the First amendment.

About the Davis Cup thing.. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I’ve never really felt there was much at stake in it for me who wins. If my country wins, it’s not like I get anything from it, or credit (and nor should I since I didn’t do anything). I don’t know.. I just never felt pride when my country wins, or pain when someone else wins, no matter who it is. But if a player I like is on the opposing team, I will want what’s best for the player, which inevitably means winning even if it comes at the expense of my own team.

It’s not something I can explain. Maybe I’m just different to everyone else. In JCF’s case, he hates Lleyton Hewitt, so that’s his motivation for his unpatriotism. Me, I’m just indifferent. I don’t care about the result, I just want to see some good tennis.

JCF would rather the Americans (and he’s not a huge fan of American tennis by the way) beat us, whom we have not met in a very very long time I might add. I’ve been waiting for a clash with you guys since both Roddick and Hewitt were in their prime almost a decade ago. Unfortunately, our team has so seriously fallen out power (we used to be such a strong team) that even if we’d met, there wouldn’t be much excitement in it. We used to have a very good doubles pair and two good singles players. Now the doubles guys have retired and a slumping Lleyton carries the team, and we’re in zonal competition so it will be at least another year before we can meet. :-/

Hewitt’s a guy that you can never write off, but his commitment is questionable now unlike before where DC was always his #1 priority, and he’s lost most of his fire.


Giner Says:

“…This was “the most beautiful day” of Verdasco’s life, and that is coming from a man who now has Ana Ivanovic, the delightful French Open champion, on his arm.”

WHAT?!? REALLY? When did this happen?

There goes my heart.

*sobs*

I wonder what language they speak to each other. English isn’t a first language for either of them, and I don’t think Spanish is a second language in Serbia either. Oh well, I guess that just adds a bit of spice to their relationship.


Giner Says:

“I’ve been waiting for a clash with you guys since both Roddick and Hewitt were in their prime almost a decade ago.”

To add context to this, once upon a time, we had the Woodies who are one of the greatest doubles pair ever. At that time we were the #1 DC team in the world for a few years. And we had Hewitt who was #1 in the world or close to it, and Rafter, and Mark Philippoussis. All were good on fast courts, but Hewitt was beating clay experts on their own turf (Guga and Al Costa namely, but even outside of DC he won on clay against better players purely on heart). And when we hosted these clay courters we’d pick grass courts which contrary to popular belief are the fastest courts–at least the grass we use which is imported specifically to give us the greatest DC advantage possible–and these guys wouldn’t stand much of a chance.

At home the only team I could conceive of that might beat us was the US with Roddick (and hopefully Agassi or Sampras), though we’d still be favorite I’d say since the Bryans were not well known yet. Roddick was a fast rising star however, and the match was mouth-watering.

I’ve been waiting for a tie against you guys ever since. You would whip us now though. A lot has changed since then. Our development program started sucking some years back, and we don’t have any talented players in this new generation.


Von Says:

Giner:

Because in the past, we’ve had some pleasant exchanges, I’ll simply answer, WOW, is all I can say coming from you. I don’t expect you to understand what I’m talking about. How could you? You don’t read most of the comments written on a regular basis, however, you’re free to dissect my comments as you deem fit. I believe that even though a person has a favourite player, it’s not necessary to put down every other player, and/or talk about those players in the country they live as inferior. It’s OK to idolize your player if you want, but there are other good players out there and the put down of the Americans in favour of the Spanish is unacceptable. When I see those types of remarks coming from people who live in this country, it makes me wonder why do they even want to live here. Why not go and live where their allegiance is. This probably doesn’t make any sense to you because of your beliefs, but that’s how I feel and or view things. Sorry, but I suppose I’m entitled to my opinion just like the next person. Yes, I’m British and still value them as my people, but when I moved to this country and became a citizen, I made a pledge of allegiance, and I stick by it. Also, I have 2 American born children, and putting down the Americans is puttuing down my own flesh and blood. Some of us have national pride, some dont — it’s as simple as that. Bye.


Giner Says:

“After reflecting on the result 24 hours, this has to be an absolutely crushing loss for Argentina and especially for Nalbandian who had really made winning the Davis Cup a top priority this season. He must be devastated, and I wonder just how he’ll recover for next year.”

Sorry, but Argentina simply blew it. Every time they were in a position to win the DC, they had the misfortune of being visitors who then chose a surface most advantageous to themself and disadvantageous to the Argies (Russia and Croatia). This time, the stars were aligned in their favour, they held the cards and the final was theirs to host. Arg had not lost a home tie in the last 13. Every time they’d hosted, they crushed their opponents, usually 5-0 or 4-1. Only once did a team win 2 rubbers against them during that run (Croatia) and one of them was a dead rubber.

Now they got a new top 10 player in JMDP. That makes two great singles players and Nalbo has a good record in doubles.

They were favourites to win. No question about it. Spain had no Nadal, and Ferrer had been sucking as of late. Spain used their doubles players to win their singles matches!

Acasuso was simply a bad choice of player on a fast surface. Canas or Chela would have been a better choice. Nalbandian should have played doubles. He might not be the first name that comes to mind when you think of doubles, but look at his DC record. He is good, and he has beaten some good doubles teams (Arg thrashed Australia in doubles the last 3 times we played and we’re not too shabby).

Thinking about Arg’s unbeaten run at hosting, the only team I could conceive of that could beat the Argies at home is Spain. I was not expecting it to be on a fast court however. This ended up being a bad move because Lopez is not that great a clay courter. With Ferrer imploding, all Arg would have to do is beat Verdasco.

I know, it’s easy for me to say. Hindsight is 20/20 and all that. But Arg have themself to blame. Even if Nadal was healthy as anticipated, I don’t think he would have been fazed by their choice of surface. He’s twice made the Shanghai semis (losing to Federer), he’s won Madrid, made the finals of Paris, won Dubai, Beijing, Beijing 2008, Toronto, and Montreal, all on fast surfaces. And Wimbledon.

I don’t think it was a good decision to pick a surface based on one player. Even if they feared Nadal would win twice, they could form a plan on beating the second singles player twice and winning the doubles.

“Unfortunately, though, this was probably Argentina’s best shot at it for a long, long time to come.”

Indeed, they are not going to get a run this lucky for a while. They will have to visit the next time they play Russia or Spain.

“About the only questionable decision was Del Potro playing in Shanghai risking fatigue and injury. And rumor has it that Nalbandian and JDMP nearly came to blows Friday night over his attendance in the Masters Cup. But it’s hard to fault him for going.”

“JMDP could have easily feigned injury and skipped Shanghai. He would have suffered a fine I’m sure but he would have easily made any shortcoming provided he helped lead his team/country to a Davis Cup title. I think what he did was right, but it sounds like David didn’t think so.”

These guys must be furious if Roger Federer was one of their teammates. No one has any business making DP sacrifice his individual interests for DC. I hope it was just a heat of the moment thing.


Giner Says:

err.. my bad, Nalbandian did play doubles. Things just didn’t go their way and the doubles was crucial.


Von Says:

giner;

Argentina has a vacany for a captain, perhaps you should apply. Oh, but Spain has one too, so why not apply there. You’d be in seventh heaven.


Sean Randall Says:

JJFan, I don’t know what the initial plan was regarding Nalbandian’s participation in the doubles, but once JMDP got injured I think Mancini had to play David in that doubles to try and pick a point in hopes of offsetting a loss in that fourth rubber.

Sure, David may have been fatigued if he had to play that fifth rubber, but first you had to get there at least. Mancini did all he could at least in choosing players to try get to a fifth. Whether his on-court/off-court coaching was helpful is another matter.

Giner, indeed, stars were aligned and they choked. They will not get a better chance than what they had this weekend for decades to come.

Regarding Acasuso, I think he’s the better choice over Canas or Chela on that court. He’s serve is much bigger and I think Jose can look at it (and I’m sure he did) like redemption for his loss to Russia. Canas has a terrible serve and backhand. Chela, no thanks.

Regarding surface, Argentina could not have picked clay against a 100% healthy Nadal. That’s two losses right there. Rafa’s not losing. No chance. The crowd could be, or would be, throwing grenades onto the court and Rafa would still win. Argentina would win the doubles I think and then it get’s tricky.

On a faster surface I think Rafa would lose once to Nalbandian and the Spanish No. 2 would lose twice. That was probably Argentina’s thinking going in.


gulu Says:

To me my religion is above everything else ! However I was rooting for Fedrinka in their olympic match against the Indian pair of Paes-Bhupathi pair even though my own country is India and I’m absolutely a part of it ! I’m a 100% Indian by origin,descent,race and religion.I’D continue to support an Indian in whatever great efforts he makes,but I’d support absolutely nobody more than Federer ! GO ROGER!!!


Roy Says:

gulu Says:
“…However I was rooting for Fedrinka in their olympic match… I’d support absolutely nobody more than Federer ! GO ROGER!!!”

Dear Gulu,

Reading your post makes me profoundly appreciate your steadfast loyalty and devotion towards your icon !

However, it also prompts me to ask you (humbly of course, as who am I to stand between a Hero and his sincere devotee),

” PRAY, WHY DO YOU BRING-UP FEDERER & OLYMICS IN A THREAD THAT’S DISCUSSING DAVIS CUP FINAL WITH PLAYERS FROM ARGENTINA & SPAIN ? !”


gulu Says:

Dear Roy, I’m just loyal & not a Roger devotee,I won’t be my wife’s devotee even ! ;-) I mentioned about Fed & Olympic coz I wanna give the message that there’s no wrong if a fan of any sportsman supports him a bit more than guys from his own country !


gulu Says:

Roy,shame on you for questioning my loyalty, I hate you !!! ;-) :-o :-) Just kidding ! :-)


Andrew Miller Says:

Assumptions just did not work in Argentina’s favor. They looked at their strengths (two top ten players) and ran with that as a “given”.

As for Spain, they said “let’s work with what we got:nothing is in our control, not even our best player.” And let me say it again: ALL CREDIT TO LOPEZ AND VERDASCO. I thought they would never amount to anything but I am mistaken.

LOPEZ AND VERDASCO were just courageous. All credit to Acasuso, who tried his best, but those two veterans, who I think are quite underachieving, are to be praised for this one.

This is nothing less than a catastrophe for Argentina and nothing less than heroics from Spain. But, maybe this will help DEL POTRO.


Von Says:

Is Eva Perrone singing “Don’t cry for me Argentina”, or “I’m crying for you Argentina”? I wonder what musical Andrew Lloyd Webber could or would produce from this recent Argentinian disaster. My heart goes out to David Nalbandian. Take heart David, there’s another DC final still left in you.


gulu Says:

Oh no, Von wants to donate her heart to Nalby !!! Please don’t do that dear Von or you would become heartless ! ;-) After all your heart’s so sweet ! :-) This is the request of a little brother whom you know as gulu ! :-o


JJFAN Says:

MMT says:

As for the crowds – I’m sorry, but I don’t accept this. None of these players grew up playing in silence – they’ve forgotten what’s it’s like to play with someone (a coach, a parent, passing traffic or other courts) blaring in their ear, but THEY’VE ALL DONE IT before. And this is standard for Davis Cup – crowds shout during points, in between serves, and even during the service motion.

[JJFAN]

“Tendentious” means depending upon your point of view. This is a good example, which I view as nonsense. The Argentines were whisper quiet when it was time for their guy to serve. The noise is not the issue. The issue is the intent to interfere and create an unfair balance in the competition, as the home team wasn’t capable of pulling it off on their own.

Whether Spain at home was obnoxious in their own turn is immaterial. There is no right to be childish or engage in mob behavior. There should be no rule against crowd interference, if it is not going to be enforced (by way of point deduction, when bad enough to call). But then I suppose judges would need body guards, wouldn’t they. Yikes! It’s just a game, and this nationalism thing can go too far. That is the dark side of tennis as a team sport.


Roy Says:

zola Says:
“Roy,
Thanks for great comments…”

Dear Zola, you are most welcome.

In retrospect, 2008 has been a fantastic year for Sports in Spain with truly remarkable achievements of Spanish teams accross a wide spectrum of team Sports ranging from winning Euro Cup in Football to Davis Cup in Tennis.


gulu Says:

Roy, I felt relieved to see your post,though only for Zola. At least I have a friend in you posting on this site these days Others have almost, I mean, disappeared ! Come on ya lazy people :-) ,keep posting !


MMT Says:

JJFAN said: “There is no right to be childish or engage in mob behavior.”

If you look at the comments of the Spaniards, most said they were envigorated by the atmosphere. What they objected to was the insults they heard, but that’s Davis Cup, and the fleas come with the dog.

As for mob behavior – that’s a stretch – if by mob behavior, you mean behaving in a way in a group that you wouldn’t if you were a lone, then I say big deal. If you’re referring to violent mobs, no such behavior occurred.

“There should be no rule against crowd interference, if it is not going to be enforced (by way of point deduction, when bad enough to call).”

I agree 100% with the first part of the statement – there should be no such rule. Let these men pull their socks up and get on with it.

“But then I suppose judges would need body guards, wouldn’t they. Yikes! It’s just a game, and this nationalism thing can go too far. That is the dark side of tennis as a team sport.”

Few would argue that Davis Cup, and the unique atmosphere it offers, is the dark side of tennis’ team competition. Violence and physical threats is one thing, but the Argentines didn’t do anything that approached that. This is much ado about nothing.

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