Buenos Aires, Nov 21 (IANS) Former Argentinian tennis player David Nalbandian remembered the “craziness” that surrounded the title he won 10 years ago in the Tennis Masters Cup (now known as the ATP World Tour Finals) played in Shanghai where he beat Swiss great Roger Federer in five sets. “How the story began was craziness. I was ready to go fishing because as a substitute (in the tournament) there was almost no chance that I would be going to Shanghai. It ended up being an unexpected and incredible tournament,” said the former star, reports Xinhua.
The 33-year-old remembered that he entered the tournament after American Andy Roddick got injured. “Since the first minute I felt good and very comfortable. Obviously I was tired after the journey but I was happy with the surface and the ball. I got better every day,” said the Argentinian. The retired player explained that during his career, different surfaces never changed his game.
However, time changes affected him a great deal. For that reason, he always asked the tournament organisers to let him play in the first matches of the day. “If the tournament was in Europe, with four or five hours of difference (between Europe and Argentina) then I got away with it. However, in Shanghai it was crazy,” added Nalbandian.
The Argentinian competed in the Red Group in 2005 where he was defeated in the first match by then No.1 Federer. However, he recovered in the next two matches by beating compatriot Guillermo Coria and Croatian Ivan Ljubicic. In the semifinals, the Unquillo-born defeated Russian Nikolay Davydenko and in a historical final, he beat Federer coming from two sets behind. “This final is among the five best matches of my career. Maybe not for the level, because it was a strange match, but for winning the Masters final, beating Federer and for the whole atmosphere,” said the Argentinian.
Nalbandian, who was also ranked No.3 in world in March 2006, formed part of the so-called “Argentinian Legion” that burst onto the scene in the 2000s winning various titles. In his career he won 11 ATP titles. Despite never winning a Grand Slam, he did make it to the 2002 Wimbledon final and the semifinals in Australia (2006), Roland Garros (2004 and 2006) and US Open (2003). With his win in Shanghai, Nalbandian became the second Argentinian to win a Master Tournament after Guillermo Vilas won the title in 1974 when it was known as the Masters Grand Prix.