Davis Cup Heroics Force Nalbandian Under the Knife

by John on March 10, 2011

David Nalbandian should have been in Indian Wells, Calif., today, preparing for the start of the BNP Paribas Open. Instead, the former world No. 3 Argentine was in a Buenos Aires hospital undergoing surgery for a sports hernia and a torn left adductor muscle. Once again, Nalbandian’s passionate committment to anchoring a winning Argentine Davis Cup team, has landed the 29-year-old Cordoba native on the shelf. Nalbandian’s latest display of selfless patriotism and courageous heroics clearly puts El Rey in the company of some of the most notable gamers in sports history. Comparisons with Willis Reed, Kirk Gibson and Kurt Schilling are not a stretch. Last Friday, Nalbandian gutted out an agonizing 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 victory over Adrian Ungur in Rubber 1 of Argentina’s victorious first-round Davis Cup tie against Romania in Buenos Aires. The 3-hour, 4-minute battle had Nalbandian wincing in pain, bringing tears to his eyes. Nalby came into the match having been diagnosed with a sports hernia the week before and there was some question whether or not he would play. When it comes to Davis Cup, though, Nalbandian always plays. The Argentine has a 21-5 career singles record in Davis Cup competition and a history of some super-human performances while playing hurt. Somewhere in the opening set of the Ungur match, Nalbandian compounded his hernia problem by tearing his left adductor. “I can’t walk a single step,” Nalbandian said afterward. “I thought I would be in better shape, but I have felt really bad since the first set. I could finish the match because this is Davis Cup. If it was a tournament from the tour, I would have retired in the second set. But here, I play for my country, with my people supporting me and that is a great motivation. Matches like this are not normal. I’ve never felt that bad.” It’s always been a wonder how Nalbandian pumps himself up for Davis Cup. The aftermath, however, frequently finds him licking wounds as a result. Post operative reports indicate the two surgical procedures performed this morning “went perfect.” Nalbandian now faces two months of recovery.


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