Argentina's David Nalbandian, considered by many to be among the best players to never win a Grand Slam on the men's side, reflected on his career in an interview with ESPN and the challenges that he faced during his time on the circuit.
David Nalbandian talks about the challenges he faced in his career
The Argentine, who is now 38 years old, says that he chose to remain based in Argentina during his career which was one of the factors that hindered his progress.
“For the South Americans, it is very difficult at the calendar level. Half of the year is played in Europe and the other half in the U.S.. You live far from tennis centers. To become World No. 1, you must base yourself in one of those places, so that you don't have as many flights and as much jet lag.
And to be No. 1, you need several years. And I did not want to do that, they asked me to live in Monaco but I did not want to be based there." The Argentine also spoke about the sacrifices that one needs to make in order to become the best in the sport.
“We have, the advantage or the disadvantage, of hiring your coach as an employee to tell you what to do. And there the important thing begins, because they raise things about your life, do this, do that, what to do, what not to do.
The first talk with the coaches is based on knowing where we want to go and what we want to do, and then the other question is “if I listen to you, do you guarantee to get there?” No one can guarantee it, it depends on many factors.
No one guarantees that the end of the film is what you are looking for. That’s where the first problem begins." The Argentine also said at times, he preferred not to train as much and be more mentally fresh rather than train more and be mentally saturated.
"There is a great phrase that said ‘the more I train, the luckier I am’. And that is so, the more you do, the more opportunities you have to do better. I always argued with my coaches that it didn’t help me to be very well trained, let’s say having a 9 on training, if then the head was on a 2, saturated.
Because when you are not perfect with your fitness or the tennis, there the head, if it's okay, it's going to help you. David Nalbandian peaked at No. 3 in the world rankings and reached the final of the 2002 Wimbledon Championships.
He won 11 ATP singles titles, including the Tennis Masters Cup in 2005. He is the only Argentine player in history who ever reached the semifinals or better at all four Grand Slam tournaments.