OpinionMonday, March 3, 2014
Del Potro, what does he want?
A few days ago, Juan Martín del Potro wrote to the Argentine Tennis Association (AAT) again to say he would not play for Argentina in the Davis Cup playoff to stay in the top division. But didn’t we know that all along... even though Argentina would badly need him to stay in the top division. But this time he took the opportunity again to accuse the AAT of lies and hypocrisy in connection with the trophy, but again without explaining exactly what he means.
In his letter he mentions that he always respected the decisions of others and never asked for a certain team captain (who knows?). We know he never got on with most other players, especially David Nalbandian who has now retired (though remains close to the team), nor with captain Martín Jaite who offered to resign if it would help. Now what else does he want?
AAT President Arturo Grimaldi said again he would walk to Tandil to convince Del Potro to play, which seems demeaning. He had talked to the player amiably when he was here for exhibition games in December, and a solution seemed nearer, but in this year’s Davis Cup tie there were chants against Del Potro which he blamed, it seems wrongly, as being organized by the AAT.
Now Argentina thinks there is a risk of losing the playoff without Del Potro, but the danger is overdone. Due to its ranking the country will not meet the strongest rivals, Spain, Serbia, Canada and the US. Then it depends on whether they are drawn at home or away next month for the September playoffs and who is available here for rivals and how their form is. Argentina has Federico Delbonis coming up and Juan Mónaco seems to have got over his bad patch.
By not playing in the Davis Cup, Del Potro will not be eligible to play in the 2016 Olympics, but will he get that far... or even to September? A few days ago, he had to retire in the first round in Dubai with his left wrist injury while he had insisted to continue playing in his obsession to reach the world number one ranking. He has had various physical problems since 2007 and they are not getting better. He has now downgraded his plans. “I want to stay in the top 5 or at least top 10,” he said. This columnist has doubts.
If, by some miracle he plays in the playoff, our message is: “Don’t mix with the other players or captain if you don’t want to and don’t think about any problems. You go out to play and try to win. After all, you are Argentine, aren’t you?”