Davis Cup: questions and certainties ahead of the clash against Belarus

In a month Argentina will play the Davis Cup again, a year and a half after the last series. In March 2020, a few days before the stoppage due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, the team led by Gastón Gaudio fell 3-1 to Colombia in Bogotá, 2600 meters high and with depressurized balls. That defeat in the qualifying round sidelined him from the chance to aspire to the end of the year Finals and condemned him to play in World Group I, with the risk of falling into a repechage so as not to descend.

From September 18 to 19, the tie against Belarus will be played, a hinge shock in the future of sports: if Argentina wins, it will be able to play the qualifiers once again, in March 2022, with a view to the End of November, based in Madrid, Innsbruck and Turin. If he loses, on the other hand, he must face one of the twelve World Group II winners in a Group I playoff to avoid going down to the American Zone. The series will be in the Central Court Guillermo Vilas from Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis, the legendary club that will host a Davis again after 16 years.

The situation places Gaudio away from the circuit, beyond the temporal proximity with the series. Dedicated the last weeks to the key negotiation for the transfer of Lionel Messi to PSG, the captain was not at the Tokyo Olympics, is not at the Cincinnati Masters 1000 and it is estimated that he will not be at the US Open either, the last stop before the cupbearer crossing. The main reason would be the strong restriction that remains in tournaments in relation to the number of companions of the players, which can take only three people from their work bosom. From the Argentine Tennis Association (AAT)For now, they have no fixed date for the return of the captain, although it would have to be soon.

Conversely Gustavo Marcaccio, the team’s sub-captainHe did travel to the Olympic event as part of the Argentine delegation and is in Cincinnati as the coach of the Spanish Jaume Munar. “Cachito”, then, is the only current link between the coaching staff and the players. in the final stretch for the series.

With four weeks ahead, the team’s assembly is beginning to be seen. Of movida Gaudio will not be able to count on Federico Delbonis, the second best Argentine singles player and the third player with the most victories of the year on brick dust. The blue, what has not played the Cup since the world final against Croatia in Zagreb, in which he won the remembered fifth point against Ivo Karlovic, chose to prioritize the calendar.

Then seven names come up for five places. Diego Schwartzman and Guido Pella, absent in Bogotá due to injuries, could return to the call. The Peque holds up at a level close to its best version and, by own weight, it would be the fundamental piece to prevail in the two singles.

Like the others, the Argentine number one he had no contact with Gaudio relative to Davis. “I spoke a little with the leaders, with Calleri and Zabaleta (NdR: president and vice president of the AAT), and a lot with Cachito, who travels many weeks on the tour. I had my talks about the Davis Cup and I found out the news directly with him, who has been the deputy captain for two years now. Now, in detail, I don’t have so much information. I know it will be in Buenos Aires and I know Cachito’s idea of ​​the game. If I am healthy and fresh I will be there to try to pass the series and have the opportunity to return to the world Davis Cup, “said the 14th in the world in dialogue with Page 12.

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Pella, on the other hand, was not going through his best moment after an eventful season, with the contagion of covid included, in which he came to have doubts about how to continue his life after Wimbledon. In Cincinnati, however, he won important games, He said “feel like a tennis player again” and exhibited his availability, beyond the isolation with the captain: “My presence will depend on what the captains say. I haven’t spoken with Gastón (Gaudio) for a long time. It is very difficult for him to travel because of the restrictions; They won’t let him go to the US Open because there are no credentials. “

The Bahiense, part of the 2016 champion team, also confirmed that he maintains the link with Marcaccio thanks to his presence in tournaments, although it is not the ideal: “We are lucky that Marcaccio is Munar’s coach and we have more relationship, but it is a relationship only of tournaments. It is difficult to have that back and forth between the captain and the players, as we were able to do in previous years. For now I can’t say anything because I did not have any kind of contact. At least I. Maybe the boys were lucky enough to be able to speak. “

Everything indicates that the owner is Marcaccio and that the Schwartzman-Pella tandem he would be in Buenos Aires to defend the national jersey. The third singlist would come out of three names: Federico Coria (65º), Facundo Bagnis (82º) and Francisco Cerúndolo (112º), the youngest of those who can integrate the payroll. Horacio Zeballos, 6th in the world in doubles, would be fixed for the crossing in pairs; the companion would choose between Máximo González (27º) and Andrés Molteni (62º), his side in Tokyo 2020.

The series against Belarus will also have another weight: It could be the last of Gaudio at the head of the team. As this media learned at the time, the captain would take over the squad for the first two full years of Agustín Calleri’s management: 2019 and 2020. The next driver in the chair would be Guillermo Coria, who already shared the “emergency triumvirate” with Gaudio himself and Guillermo Cañas in September 2018, after the departure of Daniel Orsanic. Although everything was delayed a year due to the pandemic, Coria had already expressed his desire to be a captain publicly.

What does Belarus have? Three top 100: Ilya Ivashka, current 67th in the world; Egor Gerasimov, 84 °; and Andrei Vasilevski, 86th in the doubles ranking. Both the number one and the number two of the team carry a vast experience of the cup: Ivashka played 9 series, with an overall record of 9-10 (9-7 in singles), while Gerasimov acted in 14 crosses, with a record of 19-8 (18-7 in singles).

Questions arise. The certainties raise more questions. Less than a month from a series key, for sporting aspirations and for the future of Gaudio as captain, the countdown progresses and the team will begin to take shape. The unknowns will be revealed in the coming weeks.

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