I’m guessing most people on my flist aren’t that interested in tennis, so I haven’t bothered explaining, just reporting. If you are, or might be, interested and want more background, feel absolutely free to ask!
So Rafa Nadal arrived in Argentina yesterday evening on an exhibition tour, tied in with the retirement of David Nalbandian. My Twitter timeline - which is 20% Argentine journalists and 70% Delpo fans from all round the world - predictably exploded. Most of the information below is from those tweets and various others where I followed up conversations.
At his press conference soon after arriving, Nadal was asked what he thought of the prospects of Argentina winning the Davis Cup. He replied that Argentina will win when they can manage to get all their best players playing together. Ouch.
He was also asked what the people of Spain think about him making a tour in South America. He said they've got more important things to worry about. He’s right, it was a stupid question.
And the best question: someone asked Rafa which was his toughest opponent - Djokovic, Del Potro, Federer, Murray or his own underwear? He replied that it must be his underwear because he never seems to beat it.
Nadal is best mates with Pico Mónaco, and they will be going to see a football match together next Sunday - Boca Juniors, who are Delpo’s favourite team. Rafa and Pico are actually Estudiantes fans, but they’re not playing till the Monday, after Rafa’s gone back to Spain. Delpo presumably won't be there - he was last heard of holidaying in Miami and will presumably be on his way to Barbados by then. As he's just sent quite the stroppy letter to the Argentine Davis Cup leadership about the way they run things I imagine he's safer out of Buenos Aires at the moment, but I did have hopes for him meeting up with his good friend Novak Djokovic during his visit (Novak presumably arrives in Chile today, and he will give a press conference in Argentina on Thursday).
Later in the evening, Nadal and Nalbandian appeared on "Su", a popular Argentine chatshow hosted by Susana Gimenez. (You know you're a true Delpo fan when even Nalbandian on Su is of infinitely more interest than Andy Murray on Jonathon Ross). I haven't watched it because my spoken/heard Spanish isn't up to it, but I can generally read the tweets and so far the following gems have come up:
Susana is apparently notorious for not reading up on guests beforehand, and gave every impression of knowing nothing at all about Nadal and little more about Nalbandian. This strikes me as strange, because she's interviewed Delpo on a number of occasions and was a personal friend of his at one point. Perhaps it's just her thing, her persona for interviews, as a way of asking the questions the viewer wants asked?
It's reported that Su thought that Federer was German (he's actually Swiss, from the German-speaking area) and that Novak Djokovic was Russian. Well, I suppose Serbian IS written in Cyrillic...
At one point Su mentioned that Boris Becker is known as a womaniser, and Nalbandian asked if she knew that from her own experience. (She is reputed to be a woman of considerable experience).
Rafa was apparently asked throughout the interview if he would act out his pre-serve routine (that would be the one where he pats his ears, pats his headband in three or four places, and picks at his underwear fore and aft as though it's stuck up his crack). He eventually did and it's here at 50s.
It’s reported that Argentines were tweeting during the show that they were impressed with Rafa's humbleness and respect, and someone suggested that this is because it's such a contrast with "the normal bragging" in the country. Perhaps this is why so many of them disrespect Delpo? They think because he is normally determinedly calm and polite he's not man enough to be a proper Argentine?
In other tennis news, Novak Djokovic missed seeing his team-mates play the doubles match in the Davis Cup on Saturday because he was almost five hours in doping control. The word from his PR man is that in order to give valid samples, Djokovic had to take food and liquid, and he was made to eat and drink things he doesn’t normally eat and drink. Novak is gluten-intolerant and his diet is quite restricted, but it’s pretty much just a subset of “perfectly normal”, and I really don’t see why he couldn’t have been allowed to eat and drink in accordance with his regular diet. It’s difficult not to see this as some kind of revenge for his recent polemic (re Troicki) on the way anti-doping is run in tennis. I think this may be old news, but it new to me and it's seriously worrying. It's simply not true that "the innocent have nothing to fear".
The next event of interest will be David Nalbandian's press conference this evening. He will surely be asked what he thinks of Delpo's letter giving his reasons for refusing to play Davis Cup first round. I'm not convinced Nalbandian has any interest in being politely diplomatic and complimentary (as Delpo was when he was asked to comment on Nalbandian's retirement announcement), so that could be interesting.