Archive for the 'Agustin Calleri' Category


Argentine Tennis in Disarray after loss to Spain.

manciniAlberto Mancini resigned after his team’s loss to Spain in the Davis Cup. Playing at home in the final Argentine was considered by many to be the favourites to win. They had the choice of venue, the choice of court surface and the enthusiastic home town crowd vigorously behind them. When it was a announced that Rafael Nadal would not be playing, the balance of power weighed so heavily on the side of Argentine that Mancini was heard to forecast that the match score could be 5-0! His only difficult decision was who he should put out to play in the doubles, it was inconceivable that without Nadal, Spain could take any of the singles matches. Del Potro and Nalbandian were too tough for any of the Spaniards in singles competition. Ferrer was in a slump, Verdasco was known to choke, and Lopez had a history of inconsistency. It was a slam dunk!
But as it turned out Argentine self destructed, they started to believe their press notices and became over confident. After the first match between Nalbandian and Ferrer, it was clear to all those in attendance that it was going to be a walk over for the home team. The celebration was just about ready to begin as Spain’s best singles player was humiliated by Nalbandian. Next up was the ‘new’ young Argentine hero Juan Martin del Potro, ranked number 7 in the world, and pitted against Feliciano Lopez, ranked a lowly 31st. and a player with only a modest amount of success as a singles player on the ATP tour. The first set went to del Potro easily and the crowd could sense an easy victory for their hero, but he lost the second set in a tie breaker. David Nalbandian, a knowledgeable student of the game, saw immediately that del Potro was tired. He huddled with Coach Mancini, and confirmed his thoughts with the coach. Del Potro lost the third set in another tie breaker as he failed to reach many easy balls, and struggled with his serve. In set four he cramped up from exhaustion, and pulled a small muscle in his right thigh. The match was over! Nalbandian was pissed off, and almost demanded that the coach send him out to play in the doubles the nest day. Calleri was chosen to play with Nalbandian in the very important doubles match that had now become almost a must win match for both teams. Calleri made error after error on both sides, he hit the ball into the net on relatively easy service returns, and Nalbandian could not carry the match alone. Spain led 2-1 in the Cup. All was not lost for Argentine, they needed to win both reverse singles on Sunday, Nalbandian would play the final match against Lopez, and del Potro would play Ferrer. Argentine was still favoured to win until it was declared by the team doctor that del Porto could not play. Mancini had no choice but to play Jose Acusosa, a player who had not played a competitive match for more than 3 months, and had not played a single point on the courts at the Davis Cup venue. Emillio Sanchez dumped David Ferrer in favour of Verdasco. In a 4 hour error filled match of poor quality and even poorer tennis standard, Verdasco won the match and the Cup for Spain.
Nalbandian was devastated by the loss, and blamed del Potro for showing a lack of desire and motivation. They had a confrontation in their locker room that was heard through the walls in the adjoining Spanish locker room, and an exchange of less than polite words was heard between Nalbandian and del Potro’s father. Calleri stepped in to calm them down. Only Mancini and Acusosa showed up at the post game press conference, and could not provide satisfactory answers for the player’s absence.
It was unfair for Nalbandian to suggest that del Potro should not have gone to Shanghai for the Masters Cup, had the roles been reversed I’m sure he would have gone too. The problem lies is the demanding schedule conceived by the ruling bodies of the ATP and ITF, it is spoiling tennis for the public, and taking its toll on the health of its players.

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A Place in History for these Four Argentinians?


No matter where you go in Argentina, and in particular Mar Del Plata the buzz is about the Davis Cup. Whether you are having your hair cut at the local barber shop, or buying a newspaper, or having lunch at one of the many sea food cafes, the talk and the discussion is about the Davis Cup. In a country which embraces sports, a country which is a powerhouse in the World Cup of soccer, a leader in the World of Auto racing, and a dominant force in Polo, they have taken a back seat to Tennis. This is their third appearance in a Davis Cup final, they lost to Russia in 2006 and to the US in 1981, but it is their first time to play the final at home. Local hero Guillermo Vilas who won 62 titles never won the Davis Cup for his country, and now for the first time these four young players have the opportunity to etch their names in the sports history annals of Argentine.

The controversy surrounding the choice of venue and the choice of court surface has passed, the team selection has been made, the doubles pairing is still not determined and may not be until game time. The 12,000 seats at the Polideportivo Islas Malvinas Stadium are sold out, the opposing Spaniards are in town, and on Friday at the opening ceremony Argentine fans will welcome the Davis Cup Final to their country. The faces of David Nalbandian, Juan Del Potro, Augustin Calleri and Jose Acasusa will be displayed on T-shirts, life-size banners, flags and painted on the walls of buildings, the blue and white colours of the Argentine flag will adorn the faces of the fans as the whole country awaits the outcome of these 3 days of competition.

David Nalbandian, the unofficial leader of the team, a player who has risen to great heights and also fallen to unexpected lows over the years, has been quoted as saying that winning the Davis Cup for his country means more than winning any of the Majors and more than winning the Master’s Cup( which he did in 2005). For Juan Del Potro, who just returned from the Master’s Cup in Shanghai, it is the opportunity to display his talent in front of his own countrymen. He was the hero of their win against Russia in the semi final, and his unprecedented progress through the tennis rankings to the top ten has made him a role model for every young aspiring Argentine player.

The Davis Cup Final will bring the 2008 season to a close, and it leaves a host of questions unanswered. Foremost amongst them is the future of both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. How will they compete in 2009? Will one of the other young guns emerge as a dominant player? Or are we in for a season of unpredictable winners?

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Will this be the Team that wins the 2008 Davis Cup!

nalbandian-2These four men will represent Argentine in the Davis Cup final as they try to win the coveted cup for the first time in the country’s history. Maybe it will be third time lucky for Argentine as David Nalbandian, Juan Martin delPotro, Agustin Calleri and Jose Acasuso attempt to win the cup in 2008 after the country lost twice before in 2006 and 1981. This is the first time they will try to win at home, and the first time they will meet Spain in the final. del-potrocalleriacasuso

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