I know that players love to whine about the length of the tennis season but I have never had any sympathy for their false complaints. The truth is that, given half a chance, these same players would not hesitate to fly to Monaco to play an exhibition in front of affluent supporters willing to wine and dine them. So enough already with the whining I say.
I therefore had zero sympathy for Rafael Nadal when he started the obligatory whining over the Davis Cup schedule. Following his Wimbledon loss, Rafa struggled to clarify that he was not just being selfish in his decision not to make the trek to Austin, Texas:
“The problem is the ITF, my opinion. They don't want to change nothing. They are never able to change nothing on the calendar, nothing in the format of the Davis Cup competition. And some thing they are doing bad, because the best player of the world, a lot of times we are not able to play. For me is hard not go to United States and play for my country. For somebody can think, ‘Well, he only is think about himself. He is playing his own things. Doesn't matter about the Davis Cup.’ It's not my case…I cannot be in every place. I cannot be competitive every week of the year. My body needs to rest.”
Too bad Rafa apparently didn’t have the cojones to cut out all the blaming the ITF crap and simply acknowledge that he could not play Davis Cup because he needed to give his body a well-deserved rest. And who could possibly blame him? After all, in the past few months he has not only won Roland Garros but has made it to the finals of just about every tournament he has played since. Of course his body is tired and in need of rest.
To place blame on the ITF is, in my opinion, an attempt to avoid taking responsibility for his choices. It highlights a reluctance to accept responsibility for a personal (and yes, quite possibly selfish) decision. And maybe this even shows how exhausted Rafa’s mind must be. After all, he needs time to figure out why Djokovic keeps beating him.
Thank goodness the Spanish team can win without him. And it is my opinion that any team belonging to the World Group should be able to win without their top player. You don’t get to the top by relying on a single individual. Under the capable hands of Albert Costa, the Spanish tea showed convincingly that they were not reliant on Nadal. This is their second win without him. I would have admired his honesty if he had admitted that he could afford to be selfish because the team had proved that he was dispensable.
The Davis Cup competition was founded in 1900 as a challenge between the USA and Britain. Initially titled the International Lawn Tennis Challenge, the competition was renamed to honor the American, Dwight Davis, who won the first three matches against the Brits. Other countries soon signed on and the field has since been expanded to include some 137 countries. Because of the size of the competition, countries had to be clustered into zones and tiers.
This weekend the US faced off against Spain for a spot in the semi-finals of the World group. The winner of this contest would face the French on the terre battu of Roland Garros. I did not see the match on Friday between Feliciano Lopez and Mardy Fish. I read that it went to an exciting five-setter which Deliciano pulled out 8-6 in the fifth. But I did see the match between Ferrer and Roddick. By the third set, Roddick seemed to have accepted his fate and seemed only too willing to throw in the towel. I was glad that I had not spent the $$$ to make the trip to Austin. I could not bear the disappointment.
The Bryans of course delivered on Saturday. Once again I could have done without the whole chest-bumping thing. It is soooooo played out. But despite this I was happy for the hope that they brought to the Frank Erwin Center in Austin TX.
But Ferrer was not to be denied, was he? And today he spanked Mardy in four sets. It could so easily have been three. Who knew that Ferrer would best Fish in a tie-break? Who knew that Ferrer would turn out to be the hero of the weekend? Who knew that fans might even be asking “Rafa who?”