The Davis Cup
The fallout in Argentina continues and it ain't a pretty sight. Juan Pablo Varsky writing in the Argentine paper La Nacion details the behind the scenes infighting and in the end the lack of a team spirit among the Argentine players. David Nalbandian who while teased incessantly about his weight had gotten relatively good tennis press comes off as, well, the heavy in this saga. Starting with his injecting himself into the venue search - seems he would've gotten some nice cheese for delivering it to his home territory of Cordoba - to seemingly doing the Captain's job by making sure only those he wanted made the team. Guillermo Canas was not one of the chosen. Neither was Juan Monaco. Canas has not been in the best form of late but would he have made a good doubles fit with Monaco giving Dave a day off? Who knows. What about up and coming Eduardo Schwank? Could he have been there as a reserve? Captain Alberto Mancini has resigned.
Woulda, coulda, shoulda I know but all of these questions have to be asked in the wake of what can only be called a stunning defeat by Team Spain.
And Team Spain it is. Spain was ridiculed for it's experiment in creating a team mentality to go along with the naturally competitive one all tennis players posses. So what has this so called idiocy produced? Spain is now the number one tennis country on the planet. Others may stake a claim but I don't think any other country can point to the results Spain can and this despite a year of turmoil where players worked to unseat the head of it's tennis federation for lying and disrespect. If Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco use this Davis Cup triumph as a stepping stone to next year especially during the spring and summer hard court swings in the United States it's going to be very interesting.
As for Argentina I don't know anyone who has the gonads to step into this furnace. Oh wait. Guillermo Coria anyone? Some may say Argentine tennis elder statesman Guillermo Vilas is the man for the job but he seems at a happy, peaceful place in his life right now. He smartly kept his name out of the press in relation to the venue and court surface fiasco.
Coria has played much more recently and seems to have the temperament to get in the face of anyone who would challenge his vision for the team. This is just my opinion and everyone knows what body part opinions resemble and that everyone has one.
At any rate Davis Cup play resumes in March. The rankings are as follows.
3. United States
The top three are separated by 200 points. For all the details please go to the Source where a PDF file listing all the rankings is available.
This and That
In a surprise move Andy Roddick has chosen Larry Stefanki as his head coach. Stefanki broke his contract with Fernando Gonzalez, which was to run through the French Open in 2009 to take a job with the USTA, possibly working with Jose Higueras. This is reportedly what he told Gonzo who wished him well. Knowing Roddick's relationship with the USTA I'm sure if Andy asked for Stefanki he'd get him. I wonder if the USTA is paying Larry? At any rate maybe Andy has decided to listen to what a new coach will bring to the table. Roddick has made improvements to his game thanks to working with Jimmy Connors and others. It remains to be seen if the "old dog" can learn more new tricks and get back to the top five.
Speaking of Jimmy Connors the eight time grand slam winner was arrested over the weekend at a college basketball game near his home in Santa Barbara California for "noncompliance". Apparently he was cuffed and taken to the police station where he was later released. What, retired tennis players need street cred now?
Edited to Add:
Craig has updated the story of Connor's arrest.
In the wake of the 2008 Davis Cup final there is a lot of anticipation for the 2009 season. Who will coach Spain? Will it be someone like Albert Costa or Alex Corretja? Who will Shamil Tarpishev name to his squad? Will the United States be able to overcome the Swiss led by Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka (and will they do their weird little celebration here in the U.S.?) Will Nalbandian play for Argentina or will the new coach go with new blood and field a team led by Juan Martin del Potro?
Heavy weight decisions no? Well you keep worrying about that stuff. I want to know where Ana Ivanovic is going to sit when Spain hosts Serbia.