This weekend’s Davis Cup tie between Argentina and Great Britain was always going to be difficult. Since that glorious weekend in late September when Tim Henman bowed out of the game after sending his country back into the higher echelons of the competition, Argentina have been looming.
The joy soon turned to a knowing dread that all the hard work would ultimately be in vain against a squad boasting one of the most formidable and compatible Cup teams.
Nalbandian, Canas, Chela and Monaco all ranked within the top 25 and all except Nalbandian clay court specialists the surface on which the tie would be played.
Of course, since then the Argentines have also been weakened after the injury/loss of form of Canas, Chela and most recently Monaco who sustained an ankle injury last week in the Movistar Open in Chile.
The revised South American squad now includes lower ranked players like Agusten Calleri (41), Jose Acasuso (50) and 31-ranked doubles player Sebastian Prieto.
As flimsy as this may be against any other team, the GB outfit, without the services of main talisman Andy Murray is now the least impressive set of players in the group. Yes doubles maestro and disgruntled sibling Jamie Murray will prove invaluable but it is Alex Bogdanovic who is ranked the highest of the UK’s competitors. At 188 in the world Bogdanovic rests below no less than 19 Argentine players.
Jamie Baker and Davis Cup debutant Ross Hutchins will play some superb tennis despite being undoubtedly awed by the occasion and stature of their opponents, but the result is a foregone conclusion.
Once again the lack of commitment to an increasingly unimportant tournament and indeed the struggling state of British tennis when compared to every other nation in the world will be agonisingly exposed.