The relationship between Argentine Juan Martin del Potro and his country’s Davis Cup effort has been fractured, to say the least.
Now, as the country faces a World Group relegation match after losing in the first round to Italy, its biggest gun has made a statement.
He’s out of Davis Cup this season.
Here’s (to the best of my ability; I think it’s pretty accurate), a translation of his statement.
“In November I wrote a letter expressing my displeasure with the double standards and hypocrisy surrounding the Davis Cup. Since then, nothing has changed; in fact, it has gotten worse.
Profound changes are needed to correct the mistakes repeated over the years. I will not allow my name to be used to justify resignations that are merely a smokescreen. I have never demanded a (specific) captain, and have always respected the decisions of others even if they haven’t respected me.
Out of respect for my fans who enjoy tennis, who remember what I’ve done in Davis Cup and the Olympic Games, for the sake of the silent majority who like this sport – and to stay far away from insulting the opponents or punish anyone in the country – I will not play Davis Cup for the remainder of 2014.”
No doubt this is just the beginning of the drama. It’s an emphatic, but pretty cryptic statement.
The letter (e-mail) he wrote in November to the president of the Argentine tennis federation and captain Martin Jaite was in response to their public criticism of him for not immediately answering the call to play against Italy in the first round.
He told them he didn’t appreciate being asked by e-mail (rather than an actual conversation), nor did he appreciate the public campaign they seemed to be waging to either make him look bad, or exert pressure on him to play. And that it wasn’t the first time they’d resorted to those tactics. He also told them he’d rarely been consulted on anything (captain, surface, venue) and the one time they did, they ignored his input. Etc., etc., so he wouldn’t be playing vs. Italy.
Since then, obviously, things have escalated. And without its top player, Argentina went down to a single-handed effort by Italy’s Fabio Fognini.
So there’s panic in the Fed. It could get a little nasty.
In the immortal words of the Mel Brooks character, Governor William J. Letetomane, in the classic flick Blazing Saddles: