Nalbandian Merits Comeback Player of the Year Props

by John on December 5, 2010

David Nalbandian didn’t win ATP Comeback Player of the Year, but in my opinion the former world No. 3 Argentine was the most deserving of the four players nominated for 2010. The award, voted on by ATP players, was presented two weeks ago. Mardy Fish, Robin Haase and Kei Nishikori were the other nominees. Dutchman Haase won the award. I give the nod to Nalbandian because of his resolve in overcoming recurring injuries and his success against top players. Nalbandian underwent right hip surgery in May of 2009 and missed nine months of play. The Argentine started 2010 ranked No. 64, but fell to No. 161 in March. The Cordoba native ended the year No. 27, with a season best No. 25 in early November. Nalbandian’s comeback was aborted before it even began when he strained an abdominal muscle preparing for his first tournament in Auckland in January. The injury forced Nalbandian to also miss the Australian Open the following week. Finally back on court, he suffered a torn right leg adductor muscle in a second-round win in Buenos Aires in February, forcing a withdrawal before his quarterfinal match. The 2002 Wimbledon finalist returned in March to lead Argentina to an upset win over Sweden in the first round of the Davis Cup, played Indian Wells and Miami, and then, jinxed again, suffered a left-hamstring injury at Monte Carlo. Nalbandian missed the French Open and Wimbledon to facilitate recovery. The 28-year-old Argentine was back on the court in July, leading his country to another Davis Cup upset win in the quarterfinals against Russia. Nalbandian won the Legg Mason Tennis Classic at Washington in early August, defeating Marcos Baghdatis in the final. He played six more tournaments and in Argentina’s Davis Cup semifinal loss to France without further injury. For the year, Nalbandian posted a 28-10 record, had an 11-match winning streak, and only lost once to a player ranked below him. He had four wins against Top 10 players, including No. 5 Robin Soderling, No. 7 David Ferrer and No. 10 Mikhail Youzhny (twice). “It was a strange year because of the injuries,” Nalbandian said. “But in the second half of the season I felt good because I was able to compete on a regular basis. I’m quite happy about what I’ve achieved this year.”


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