Nalbandian says Argentina squad has depth
Posted: Friday September 12, 2003 12:33PM; Updated: Friday September 12, 2003 12:33PM
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- U.S. Open semifinalist David Nalbandian insisted Friday that Argentina had enough depth to overcome the absence of the team's top two players in its Davis Cup semifinal against Spain.
Nalbandian and Guillermo Coria, ranked fifth in the world, both pulled out of Argentina's team this week because of injuries suffered in the U.S. Open.
At a news conference ahead of the Argentine squad's departure to Malaga for next week's best-of-five series, Nalbandian dismissed speculation Argentina's team had been struck a crippling blow.
"Of course the withdrawal of Coria and myself had an impact. But they are a great team and I told them I would join them in the finals," he said.
Spain's national squad features the ATP's top-ranked player, U.S. Open runner-up Juan Carlos Ferrero, and is one of the strongest in years since that country won the Davis Cup in 2000.
But Nalbandian insisted Argentina had sufficient depth as teammates Gaston Gaudio and Agustin Calleri are joined by last-minute substitutes Mariano Zabaleta and Lucas Arnold in the Sept. 19-21 semifinal.
Nalbandian was up two sets against American Andy Roddick in the U.S. Open last weekend before suffering an inflamed left wrist and a pulled abdominal muscle. Roddick went on to win the match and the tournament.
Nalbandian, ranked ninth in the world, said he and Coria, who suffered a pulled hamstrung while battling Andres Agassi in the quarterfinals, fell victims to an extremely competitive circuit this year.
Coria pulled out of the Davis Cup on Wednesday.
"The tennis circuit has an enormous amount of wear and tear," Nalbandian said. "I'm sure that a great number of the injuries we are seeing are the result of so much competition. In no other sport do you see players competing week after week for so long."
Nalbandian, 21, said he will now rest up for nearly a month.
"My injuries are rather severe for playing even a few days now," he said. "If I compete now, I run the risk of having to stop more than a month or even a few weeks" down the road.
Meanwhile, Argentina Captain Gustavo Luza is to make hasty changes in strategy on the mix of singles and doubles matches against Spain. Hours before leaving for Spain, he had yet to disclose his plans.
Spain has depth in the form of World No. 1 Carlos Moya, former French Open champion Alberto Costa and doubles specialist Alex Corretja.
The other semifinal pits Switzerland against Australia in Melbourne.