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A Quick Chat With David Nalbandian
David Nalbandian took the tennis world by surprise when he stormed to the final of Wimbledon 2002. At just 20 years of age, the Argentine was contending his first tournament on grass.
His journey to success had begun four years earlier in New York, when he won the 1998 US Open junior boy's title defeating Switzerland's Roger Federer in the final. It was the first sign of a successful rivalry for Nalbandian, who has become one of the few players on tour with a winning edge over the top-ranked Swiss player. Although Federer defeated him in two matches, Nalbandian had previously won their first five ATP tour clashes.
An exception to most South American players who enjoy their best results on clay, Nalbandian attributes his success on a range of surfaces to the hardcourt his family installed in their backyard when he was a child.
Now a major contender at any tournament he contests, Nalbandian will be a player to watch at the All England Club in June. The World No. 8 chats with Hernan Macias.
Q: How do you rate your form for 2004?
David: very well, except for the foot problem that avoided me to play in Buenos Aires, I was doing very well. I think I made a very good performance in Australia and we (Nalbandian abd Argentine team mates Guillermo Coria, Agustin Calleri and Lucas Arnold) accomplished what we supposed to do in the Davis Cup (first round)
You have stated that your main goal for this season is to reach the top of the rankings. How are you going with this?
Well... you know it is not an easy task so we have to work hard on this.
Is it possible to beat such an extraordinary player like Roger Federer who is playing incredible tennis?
I think I can win every match that I play. If I am mixed among the very best players, that means something right? Although my rivals know how to play good tennis, I know how to play it too. Therefore, I think everyone is able to beat the number one in the world, or the number two or anyone.
What is the difference between you and other top players like Federer, Andy Roddick and Juan Carlos Ferrero?
Almost nothing. The difference that you must have to beat them is play very well facing them. I mean, I consider that I am at the same level to the three players that you mentioned. I am training very hard every day trying to accomplish the objectives that I propose to myself. Every tennis matchis different, there is not one easy match. The clashes against them are very difficult because they are also struggling for some big trophies.
Which of these two things are more important in your tennis career: the victory in the 1998 US Open junior boys' competition or the 2002 Wimbledon final?
These are two different stages in my career, but I think both are (different) from each other. I think good results in the professional circuit are more important
Did reaching the 2002 Wimbledon final change your professional life?
Yes, I think some things have changed since then. However as I said before, every time the objectives are bigger and we are working very hard to keep on fighting for the first places in the ranking. That final made me realise about the level that I had- now I am trying to improve my tennis even more.
What part of your game do you need to improve?
All parts of my game. I think I should start adjusting all the aspects of my tennis. I should try to become a more complete player. So, I am working in every single part that my game involves.
What do you think about Lleyton Hewitt?
I think that Hewitt is a player who is returning to be the big player he was a couple of years ago. He is a possible winner in every tournament he gets in and we must consider him a dangerous rival.
And what do you think about the Poo ( Mark Philippoussis)?
I think the Poo is also a very dangerous player to play against, but very different to Hewitt in style terms. One must be careful with the Poo because Mark plays very well and the days Mark serves well, one must be careful and pay attention when facing him.
What do you think about the doubles ranking system used by the ATP?
Well, I don't like to talk about those things I don't know the ATP people did it for a reason and should be right. That is something that something the ATP works for.
Would you prefer to win Roland Garros or Wimbledon?
Wimbledon. I was runner-up in London and I would like to have a second chance in a final match.
Is it true that you actually hate to lose?
It depends ...... (Laughs). It depends on the game I play and my willigness to win.
Which are the things that tennis gave you and the things tennis took away from you?
Many things, there were many pros and many cons. However, I don't complain about the life I live.
Who do you like to face in competition?
I don't have a preference for any player. I play against the one I have as a rival in luck and I try to do the best I can, that's it.
Who is your greatest rival : Federer, Coria or another player?
I think every player, there is not a special opponent for me. Everyone who is on top of the rankings is hard, so it creates a little rivalry. But I think everybody wants to win, so it's very difficult to choose one player.
Do you consider yourself capable of winning the Australian Open some day?
Yes, I think I am capable of winning any tournament. It is a question of time, of training hard and obviously competing.
Whom did you admire when you were a child?
Boris Becker. His style was great and his game was fantastic.
How do you deal with being a famous person, especially in Argentina?
Easy. I try to handle it the best I can.
Do you think all the players receive the same treatment when they go through doping tests no matter which are their nationalities and ranking positions?
Well the truth is I don't know. I can say to you that I was tested 18 times and nothing else. I can not answer the question for the rest of the players, but if the test goes positive there must be a reason, and if it goes negative there must be a reason too.
Are you going to compete in the Olympics this year?
Yes, I am. I think it's a tough competition where everyone will try to reach it in a good level and will also try to win it. The Olympics are not held every single year, so I am very excited to play in Athens.
Sidenote: As we know David is a rally nut. He has navigated for rally rider and good friend Marcos Ligato (who also hails from Cordoba). Rally races are extremely popular in Cordoba and some experts suggest that Nalbandian could practice this sport some day in the future.
“ On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".
Wilander on Dimitrov - "He has mind set on imitating Federer and yes it looks good. But he has no idea what to do on the court".
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.