Tennis - OpinionMonday, February 3, 2014
Maldita Davis continues
Maldita Davis, the book by Danny Miche mentioned in last Friday’s SPORTSWORLD column, continues and Argentines have only themselves to blame.
Mar del Plata was again an unlucky and wrong choice as venue for last weekend’s first round tie against Italy, as for the 2009 final against Spain. The Patinódromo did not hold many more spectators than the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club and if it was with the idea of selling more tickets, it was wrong too. Reports say that not much more than 3,000 tickets were sold for the first day — people on holiday preferred to spend the day on the beach — and some 3,000 tickets were given away to fill the stadium. It is likely that more tickets would have been sold at the BALTC and the local players might have felt more at home there.
With Argentina’s keenest Davis Cup player David Nalbandian now retired, his place has been taken by Carlos Berlocq who is however already over 30. Yet he may lack the intelligence for his age. On Saturday, with a vital match to play the following day, he spent the doubles match standing up cheering and waving his arms about to get the public to support more instead of resting. Captain Martín Jaite did not say a word.
If Argentina has a record, it is having the world’s worst Davis Cup crowd. They refuse to keep quiet, insult rivals and cheer and whistle at their mistakes — one cheers good shots, not mistakes — behaving just like soccer louts. Perhaps there are many among them who just come to watch Argentina win, but hardly to watch tennis.
Umpires always announce at the start that they will take points off the home team if the crowd does not behave, but they do not do it because they have not got the guts. If it were done just once, behaviour would improve. A note to the International Tennis Federation: send umpires with guts next time!
Next is a play-off in September against a team from the Group One and if Argentina loses, it will be dropped from the World Group for the first time in 13 years. Perhaps the country’s best player, Juan Martín del Potro will by that time realize he is Argentine and help his country out of an uncomfortable position and forget for a week to concentrate on becoming world number one which, we hope, he never achieves... unless he plays in the Davis Cup!