The very last tennis event of 2011 kicks off this Friday, with Spain hosting Argentina in Seville for the final tie of this year’s edition of the Davis Cup.
The world competition among nations may have been ignored by names like Jimmy Connors and even by the almighty Roger Federer, but its importance is indisputable and along with winning major titles, it is one sure way to write a player’s name in the history of the game.
Spain is to be considered the favorite in this final not only for being the team with more depth in the line up, but also for playing at home and for the tradition it has in the competition.
The Europeans won the title four times in the last decade (2000, 2004, 2008, 2009) and were runner-ups in three other opportunities (1965, 1967, 2003).
The surface chosen by the Spaniards—indoor red clay—should not favor either team. Clay is the favorite of all the players involved and the indoor court offers a controlled environment, where the influence of elements of nature, such as wind or sun, does not come into play.
This will be the fourth final for the South American team—the others were 1981, 2006 and 2008. They never won the competition and it has become an obsession for the Argentine players.
Among all athletes involved, one stands out for his passion for the event and for his desire to win it. David Nalbandian will play his third Davis Cup final and hasn’t hidden from anyone his hunger to succeed.
David is considered by many experts to be the greatest player never to win a major event. The closest he came to doing so was in the 2002 Wimbledon final, when he lost to Lleyton Hewitt in straight sets.
Other remarkable achievements of this great Argentine player include reaching the semifinal of every major at least once and winning the 2005 ATP World Tour Finals.
Being one of the greatest ball strikers in the game and known for being one of the mentally tougher competitors on the tour, Nalbandian is a player that you would rather not face if you could choose.
If you follow the Argentine on twitter you came across the following remarks in the last couple of days:
“I am very happy to be playing my third Davis Cup final. My goal is to bring the cup to my country for the first time.”
“We have to be prepared to suffer, to fight and to run after every ball. We want to surprise them.”
“I am focus here because I am after the goal of making my life’s dream come true.”
These are strong words that describe the strength of character of Nalbandian and his desire to win this title.
Although he is no longer the top player he used to be and he is not even the top Argentine player in the tie, David could very well be the protagonist of a love story this weekend.
Nalbandian is obviously in the twilight of his career and one may not be wrong to assume he is playing solely for the purpose of achieving this final goal. Winning the Davis Cup may be the last major personal challenge in tennis that he is truly capable of achieving.
Therefore, why not cheer for what could deservedly represent a cherry on the top of a remarkable career?