Re: Brando Magazine Article
I ask him about the fear that Federer awakes in his oponents.
-There's no one unbeatable, not even Federer-responds without meditating it. But it's also true that there are some that, by the face they have when entering the court, you can see they can't beat Federer.
Nalbandian is one of the ones that get into the court with a killer instinct. When I observe him I stop in his wide forehead and cleared, the tight skin, the deep blue eyes, then I understand what the ones that know him well repeat: he's a shark, a cold and merciless competitor.
They say that that same spirit is with him since he was a child, when the Argentine Tennis Association, among thousand of kids, picked him and Coria to be the future: they had at their service a coach, doctor, travel, advices. When Nalbandian was 14 years old, Horacio de la Peña, ex tennis player and coach nowadays, wanted to sign a contract to manage his career. "I'll take your son to the top ten", he promised. They said no. David kept on training in the National School, and a while after that the international successes arrived. He was a junior champion with Coria in Japan, won the US Open, lost the final in Roland Garros and became of the best juniors in the planet.
Each triumph shook the nap in Unquillo. The jump to the pro world arrived and the victories came with it. Also the first big money, the answered pledges, the speed on things. Life started to take in another color. Transformed in an elite player, Nalbandian turned into that he always wanted to be: an hedonist (sp?), a pursuer or pleasure and the intensity, whose work is to be one of the best tennis players in the circuit.
I want to know if tennis is his obsession.
-I'm not thinking about tennis all day long-says, and takes distance from the circuit-, because, otherwise, there will come a moment in which I'll explode. I have a lot of other activities which help me to take distance, I don't want to be thinking about the same thing all the time. There's people that's 24/7 into tennis. To me, for example, each thing I do outside of it is good to me.
"Each thing" is, among others, swimming with sharks in Melbourne, during the Australian Open pauses: speed up in the mountains in his Peugeot 205 with an engine prepared in Europe: do bungee jumping in Vienna from a 150 meters tower. Or in a weird moment, taking pics in the arms of a top model, Sofia Zamolo, in a caribean island. Those pictures sweat desire.
There's some contradiction between the cordobes quiet and the fast going of David, between the lethargy of the town life and the hormonal uproar.
Like there's also one between the austerity of this region and the glamour of the tenis circus, a circuit which travels the best cities in the world and gives prizes for more than 100 million euros a year.
The last time we met before Cordoba, was in Paris, during the last French Open, whose big champion was Rafael Nadal. Each day, Nalbandian was driven into the stadium in a Mercedes-Benz with a tournament chofer and with at least two men from the ATP willing to satisfy his demands. During the two spring weeks, the tennis pleayers feel the world moves accoring to their desires. The world are the enterprises, the sponsors, the tv, the women, the enviroment.
Nalbandian, however, prefers taking the glow off that fantasy.
-It's not easy. Anyone that comes one month in the circuit with us will want to get out. It's always the same: hotel-club-airport; hotel-club-airport, and that's it, I can assure you that. Change of schedules, change of hotels, change of bed.
I ask him if he's rather do something else, or what would he want to do when he retires.
-Run rally-the answer is a flash which echoes in the mountains darkness-. It's something I've decided to do, something I like from a long time ago.
The relationship of Nalbandian with the cars is like the one from a married man with a lover: the speed seduces him, and the vertigo. A day before our encounter, he went to pick up a BMW Z 42.5i that the German company gave him by his triumph of the Munich Open, last May. The car costs 50 thousand dollars, nothing for someone who's earned just in prizes (the publicity contracts double those sums) more than 4 million dollars.
Besides his new BMW, a water moto, and a Harley Davidson which shares with his brother, Nalbandian drives a Ford Ranger 4x4 black with a Power Stroke engine. The car looks like his owner: is wide and arrogant, and its sparkles seem to light the path. Sitting in the driver seat, some beard and frown, Nalbandian has the aspect of a character of Sin City, the last Robert Rodriguez film: looks like a comic hero, rough and untempered.
I remind him that a few seasons ago he cried, in September 2003, Davis Cup playing for Argentina. It happened in Moscow, in a doubles match with Lucas Arnold against Marat Safin and Yevgengy Kafelnikov, when a whole country was looking at his effort. I asked him if that happens often or if it was one in a lifetime.
-No, no it only happened there, I don't get emotional. Not in life. Very little-he responds in a laconic way, like he was about to open a door which will make his face to some very deep feelings.
His brother says that since he was very little he always has that personality. That he always protects himself. But protects from what?
Last edited by jazz_girl; 09-12-2005 at 08:08 PM.