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03 February 2013

Argentina fearful of France


MATCH REPORT

By 

  • Maximiliano Boso

Photo: Sergio LlameraHoracio Zeballos and David Nalbandian (ARG)

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA: In many senses, this tie was special for Argentina. Juan Martin del Potro’s decision not to play this season was a big dent to the team future hopes. We are not talking about any team, but one that is normally a strong candidate to win the tournament every year. What is more, Argentina is the only country in the competition's history that has been involved in four finals without winning the title.

The Tower of Tandil decided to prioritise his career on the men’s tour and to rest and train during Davis Cup weeks. Being the World No. 7, many people in Argentina felt disappointed.

“I hope Del Potro reconsiders his decision, but it going to be up to him. The team has open doors for him. It would be important for us to increase our future chances”, said Argentina captain Martin Jaite this weekend.

Another blow to the team is the loss of Eduardo Schwank, who has formed a strong doubles partnership with David Nalbandian. Schwank has just undergone surgery on his right wrist, something that will keep him unavailable even for the next tie.

And finally, David Nalbandian, a true legend for Argentina in Davis Cup, who was honoured by the ITF with the Commitment Award this weekend, returned to competition after almost an eight-month absence due to an abdominal injury.

The picture wasn’t the best for Argentina, especially taking into account that the German team had Philipp Kohlschreiber back on track after stepping pff team last year because of his disagreement with former captain Patrik Kühnen.

Kohlschreiber was, in a way, the key to the tie. The injury that prevented him from completing the first rubber against Carlos Berlocq unleashed the Argentine victory, and put him out of Saturday’s doubles as well.

“Every member of the team gave us a live point and that is very important for the confidence of the players. For example, the victory of Berlocq was obviously important for the team, but also for him, for his own career. The point that Monaco won was also important and of course the doubles team had a very good performance”, explained Jaite.

Another difficult task at home

From now on, Argentina will start thinking of France, the opponent in the quarterfinals, again at home. The Europeans are one of the most dangerous teams even on clay courts, a traditional surface for Argentina. France won the nations’ last encounter, in 2010 by a resounding 5-0.

“France is going to be tough. They have a very strong team, we were whitewashed the last time we play against them in Lyon, and this time it is not going to be easy”, said David Nalbandian.

“France is going to be a very tough team, it is one of the best teams in the world. But we also have very good players. So I think it will be tough for us and not easy for them”, added captain Jaite.

View the statistics from the matches here: Live scores

Captain Martin Jaite (ARG) - 03/02/13

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  • OUR REPORTER IN BUENOS AIRES

    Maximiliano Boso

    Shorter and easier: just call him Max. He was a sports writer for La Nacion newspaper for 16 years before starting doing research for ESPN, consulting for the Argentine Tennis Association and writing for international publications. Max has travelled the American continent to cover football, until tennis – a life-time passion – had him wandering though the pathways of Grand Slams and Davis Cup ties. Most exciting thing? Packing for the next trip.

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