Tennis Prose



David Nalbandian Tribute

The only man to beat Federer, Nadal and Djokovic in the same tournament was David Nalbandian. The Argentine marvel won eleven career ATP singles titles and over $11m in prize money.

Roberto Salazar Luconi coached Nalbandian for several months in Florida and shared some interesting insights about the boy who developed into the no. 3 player in the world in 2006

Roberto Salazar Luconi: “I am honored to have worked with him for a few months when he was a junior. Great player and superb person. It was mid-late ’90s, l was director at Macci Academy and we used to hold the Eddie Herr. David, then 13, showed up with his brother Javier Nalbandian, who traveled as his coach. My attention was called by the conditions he was traveling in:¬†eating basically the bananas and oranges we had for all players and bologna sandwiches made by his brother right there, and then, his tennis shoes had been clearly repaired – patches of leather stitched where they had worn out and soles replaced, hanging used overgrips to dry in the sun to be reused, playing with fishing string… l talked to Rick so he could stay and train for free, Rick was first hesitant because David had lost first round in Eddie Herr. After convincing Rick l approached his brother and spoke with them and they were quite grateful. I worked with him voluntarily for one hour every morning while our students were in school and his brother would sit there with a notebook and take notes. They stayed for around 8-9 months and went back to C√≥rdoba, Argentina, and after he was given sponsorship by Prince in Argentina. I visited them a few times over the years, the first time invited by Javier to run a clinic at his tennis school. I am still good friends with them. Down to earth people.”

When asked what standout qualities he saw in the 13 year old Nalbandian, that few others did, Luconi replied, “Amazing maturity and work ethics.”

In 2005 Nalbandian won the Tennis Masters Cup, from two sets down he defeated world no. 1 Roger Federer in a fifth set tiebreaker.

In 2007 Nalbandian won Madrid Masters by defeating Nadal 61 62 in QF, Djokovic in SF and Federer in the final 16 63 63. He is still the only man to beat all three Federer, Rafa and Novak in the same tournament.

Nalbandian reached the finals of Wimbledon in 2002, where he lost to Lleyton Hewitt and he also made the semis in each of the other three Grand Slams.

The final year of his career was in 2013 and his last appearance was in Davis Cup doubles, a quarterfinal tie win vs France. Nalbandian retired at age 31 that year after a right shoulder operation. After tennis he became a Rally car racer and coached Miomir Kecmanovic in 2021 and part of 2022.

My David Nalbadian Biofile interview

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