In a fairly young team, Carlos Berlocq appears as a figure of wisdom and experience ahead of the first-round tie against Brazil, as he has been on the team for every tie since the 2012 semifinal against the Czech Republic. A team player through and through, the Gladiator of Chascomús brings a lot to his mates, be it on the court or on the bench.

– By Caroline Paquin and Diego Amuy

Berlocq is enjoying everything, even practising
Berlocq is enjoying everything, even practising

“To tell the truth, at times I also get to thinking about when I made my début in 2012”, confides Berlocq to BATennis World. “From the moment I started playing Davis Cup up until now, I’ve always been a part of the team and it’s very emotional for me because I remember my début every time. I had to enjoy it as much as possible because I didn’t know if I would be back on the team. And after that I’ve been a part of each tie until today.”

He continues: “Every time that I am in a tie I’m thinking about this: that I have to enjoy it, that I have to give it the best of me, because it’s a special moment and that I don’t know whether or not I’ll be in the next tie. So I’m happy. I’m happy with life. It’s really a dream.”

The 32-year-old doesn’t stop there: to the pleasure of representing his country, there is also that of being part of a team, something he has always enjoyed. “Since I’m very little, I’ve liked playing in a team”, he says. “I’ve always felt it in a different way. I put myself in the place of my team-mates, I try to support them, and to be honest, I enjoy it. It’s the nicest thing there is when you play in a team, the difference there is compared to when you’re playing on the tour, without mentioning that it’s impressive when you’re representing the country. But what I’m always thinking is this: enjoy it, giving it everything and as I say, the result is a consequence of it.”

The Gladiator of Chascomús

There is a reason behind the nickname: Carlos Berlocq just never gives up and fights as though there is no tomorrow. This is especially true during the Davis Cup.

Davis Cup is a whole other ball game for Charly Berlocq, a very emotional one
Davis Cup is a whole other ball game for Charly Berlocq, a very emotional one

But what is the secret to his mental strength? Berlocq smiles, a bit shyly: “There is no secret. Thanks for seeing me that way but I don’t think that I’m the only one who, maybe, has mental strength. I feel that I’m quite strong, not only in competition but also in my day to day responsibilities to practise as much as possible. It always comes back to giving everything on every ball, in every practice.

“But I think it’s quite true of us Argentines. We have to fight a lot and no one gifts us anything. When we get into bigger things, everything is seen in a different way. We can express it differently in order to be stronger and put up with the moments of nerves or pressure.”

And expressing it he does, with a lot of emotion, every time he takes the court to represent Argentina, be it at home or on the road. And he doesn’t think that things will be different this weekend, regardless of the players who will be chosen by captain Daniel Orsanic. He expects to give his all, and that the crowd will be just as present.

“I always imagine a great ambiance, that a lot of people would be present”, he declares. “Until now, I’ve always had my way of acting on court during the Davis Cup, to rely a lot on the crowd for support. This helps me. Hopefully I’ll be able to be there on Friday and try to show this and give a great performance. But if that weren’t the case or that I had to be with the crowd to feel this energy, so be it. But the main thing is to enjoy all of this ambiance, which doesn’t come often in life.”

(Photos: Atu Ruhle and Hans Ruhle/Hans Ruhle Fotografia)