Nalbandian keeps Shanghai in sight with Swiss indoors win
By Timothy Collings
BASEL, Switzerland (Reuters) - Argentine David Nalbandian has turned his sights to next week's Paris Masters and a possible place in the Shanghai end-of-season Masters Cup after winning the Swiss Indoor tournament.
"It's still possible, but if I don't go to Shanghai, I will have a holiday and go back to Argentina," said the sixth seed. "But first, I am going to focus on Paris and try to do really well there again. If I do, who knows what will happen?"
The 20-year-old made sure of a top 15 place in the latest rankings of the ATP Champions Race with Sunday's 6-4 6-3 6-2 win over Fernando Gonzalez and also kept alive his ambition to take part in the showpiece tournament in China.
"It was just about perfect for me today," he said. "Everything I wanted worked out just right. I played to his backhand and I knew he would not like that. Fernando couldn't play his best and I think maybe that is why he lost his concentration."
Nalbandian, ranked 18th in the world, had an impressive week, beating defending champion and top seed Briton Tim Henman in the quarter-final and third seed, and home favourite, Roger Federer in the semi-final.
"Of course, you always feel good if you win a tournament, but I know I played well all week here. I feel strong and I am looking forward to next week in Paris.
"I have a lot of confidence now and I hope to enjoy next week as much as this one."
Nalbandian, said the win, worth 50 points in the Champions Race, had kept alive his slim chances of seizing one of the seven automatic places in Shanghai.
"It will be a lot of work, maybe too much work for me, but that is what I want to do next," he said. "But first I hope I can enjoy some holidays, or go to Shanghai."
Asked what aspects of his game he would work on for next year, he said he felt his whole game could be made better.
"I don't think I have a bad shot so I need to work on all of it - my serve, my movement, my returns, everything."
He said that his breakthrough, in terms of his international profile, had come at Wimbledon and that it had inspired a wave of interest in his career in Argentina where he is now the country's number one tennis player.
"After Wimbledon, all of the kids started to get really interested in tennis," he said. "So this is very important for them, for the people of my country, especially the young people coming up and the kids who are just starting."
His win on Sunday was the first by a Latin American in Basel since his compatriot Guillermo Vilas beat John McEnroe in 1978.
"That's a long time, 24 years," said Nalbandian. "It's special for Argentina and for me. Now I have to try and carry on and go up the next big step