© Ella Ling

David Nalbandian

David Nalbandian's Charm School


When David Nalbandian retires from the tour, he will not be leaving for a second career in Argentina’s diplomatic corps. The South American, a beaten Wimbledon finalist some ten years ago, has not softened much with age as he demonstrated at Melbourne Park by calling an umpire “stupid” after his second-round defeat to America’s John Isner. Maybe there was something to Nalbandian’s complaint about the official, who made a controversial over-rule deep into the fifth set, but he did not further his cause with his choice of the world “stupid”. Welcome to ‘David Nalbandian’s Charm School’.

Keep in with the popular players in the locker-room. A disagreement over a linecall had Nalbandian insulting Tim Henman one year at a tournament in Madrid. “All this selling himself as a gentleman is not true. He is the worst rubbish there is,” said Nalbandian after the dispute resulted in the previously unimaginable – Henman trash-talking all the way through the changeover. It takes a lot to provoke Henman into standing over his seated opponent, shouting his side of the story, but Nalbandian managed it.  “He started questioning my gamesmanship,” Henman said. “So I think if we’re going to go down that road, there’s only going to be one winner in that debate.”

Make friends (in the media) and influence people. “Often – too often for polite company – David Nalbandian could not be bothered,” Christopher Clarey of the New York Times wrote recently. “While other prime-time tennis players of his generation might have heard a troublesome question, exhaled and given a thoughtful response, Nalbandian has long specialised in the curt reply, with the hard set of his strong features and the tight fold of his arms forming an impressive barrier to further dialogue.”

Do not upset the locals. One year at the Australian Open, Nalbandian bumped shoulders with Lleyton Hewitt as they crossed during a change of ends. Nalbandian had taken exception to Hewitt’s cries of “C’mon”, which he called “ungentlemanly”. Nalbandian further suggested that Hewitt had no friends. The Australian said his opponent had been “looking for a bit of shoulder”.

Get the crowd on your side. At the 2006 Wimbledon Championships, while playing on an outside court, he screamed out at the crowd in Spanish, which reportedly translated as: “You f—— English whores.”

During Davis Cup ties, help maintain the team spirit. The Argentine media reported during the 2008 Davis Cup final, a tie the South Americans lost to Spain, that Nalbandian had had “a forceful” exchange of views with his team-mates. Nalbandian reportedly suggested to Juan Martin del Potro that he had undermined Argentina’s chances by competing at the Masters Cup in Shanghai as the trip to China had cut into his preparations for the final. It was further alleged that Nalbandian and his doubles partner, Agustin Calleri, had had a confrontation after they lost the doubles rubber. On the afternoon after the final, Nalbandian called his own, one-man press conference at a hotel in Mar del Plata to deny the reports that he had squabbled with his team-mates.

  • Cone_larsson

    You need to inform people about what really happens in the court and stop wasting time in writing such a stupid article.

  • Felipe from Argentina

    And who cares about all this? David’s match was stolen!!! He deserved to win. You english people should consider writing some good news, not this kind of stupid articles. I will be really happy when your baby Murray bows out.
    In addition, ATP must judge and punish this French idiot!

  • Max_roll

    Stupid article!!! David was stolen after 5 hours match…His a fantastic player, and a great person! Go on David!!!

  • Christian G.

    Umpire’s decision was ridiculous, maybe he is looking to be in the tennis headlines. Reading this article was a waste of time, you should write about the umpire´s error for not allowing the Hawk-Eye to Nalbandian… Also Isner said “OK, ask for the Hawk-Eye”… Unbelievable.

  • Amy

    First David was robbed by that STUPID umpire he should be angry and he should not have to just sit there and be silent about it! Second who cares if he does not speak to the journalists like the rest of the players tenis journalists ask some of the dumbest idiotic unnecessary questions if he does not want to chat with them and indulge their idiocy then he does not have to. Also hewitt is irritating and my only wish is that nalbandian shouldered him he did it a lot harder! And if the moron who wrote this article knew anything about David he would know what the Davis Cup meant to him and how devoted he is to it! He holds that above everything else as the most important, he always has and he and Argentina deserve to win it more then anyone!

  • Esapag

    Perhaps an article about the many mistakes of Kader Nouni, would be more informative for the readers.

  • John

    Other more important players (Federer, Agassi, Hewitt, Safin, Roddick) have also lost their temper. I remember the 2009 US Open final match. At one point Federer was angry and screamed out to the umpire “don’t tell me the f**kin rules”. I was surprised not to see any news regarding how he lost his temper after the match.

    Reading this was a waste of time. The subject should have been about this awful umpire.This same umpire made a really bad call on another game: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjZxsjT1b1w&feature=player_embedded

    Tennis fans are interested in tennis if it’s from a friendly person or a rude one it doesn’t matter as long as they play.

  • Gastonardi

    Yesterday Nalbandian was stolen. Did the STUPID who wrote this see the match at least? And now it turns out the ball was out: http://www.ole.com.ar/oleteve/
    Are they going to appologize to him? The umpire and the charmer who wrote this article?

  • Mixxell

    Man, the umpire was, is and should be stupid.
    The ball was out, clearly, and the umpire didn’t want to give him his challenge.