It’s a little ironic how, just yesterday, I was talking about the brotherly war that will be fought between Spain and Argentina in two days from now, and that this article (in Spanish) came out today, almost ruining the whole of my talk about the respect between the two teams and countries.
It is apparently not a good time for tennis legends either. After the now sadly famous words of Yannick Noah, it’s Manolo Santana’s turn to get the tongues wagging and, just like Noah, for all the wrong reasons. Saying that “Spain is superior to Argentina, even on roller skates” is quite an insult to the opponent, especially when we consider what a great team Argentina has.
This kind of speech, showing an immense excess of confidence for starters, also tarnishes the image of mutual respect between the teams and, coming from a legend like Mr. Santana, it is quite a pity. Then again, it’s not the first time that Santana puts his foot in his mouth, sadly. Two weeks ago (article in Spanish), he mentioned that Spain would win at least 4-1 (thus implying that Argentina will be whitewashed), again diminishing the strength of the opponent.
The problem is there: diminishing the opponent because they’re not home, because Spain won their last 20 ties as locals, because they count on Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer, because they defeated Argentina in Mar del Plata in the finals three years ago. However, said opponent is also one of the best tennis nations in the world (and they can also become the no 1 country if they win), who went and defeated the all-powerful Serbia at home a few months ago in a very emotional semi-final tie, a team that has learned to unite towards a common goal: finally bring home the Davis Cup. Plus, they have David Nalbandian, always ready to die for his country, and Juan Martín del Potro, who showed against Serbia that he’s more than close to be just the same.
This, Mr. Santana doesn’t seem to see, or to care, for that matter. Maybe he should take example on Emilio Sanchez-Vicario a little more. Mr. Sanchez-Vicario is the epitome of the class act and again today, showed it in his most recent blog entry (taken from an article he penned in El País).
There is a little competitive demon inside me who really wishes that those articles featuring what Manolo Santana said would be pinned in great evidence in the Argentine changing room, for extra motivation. Nevertheless, I think that this excess of confidence could very well turn against Mr. Santana.