Peacemaker Rafael Nadal said he’s discouraged by a war of words between Spanish teammates over the venue for next month’s Davis Cup final with the Czech Republic.
The decision by the Spanish federation was due to be made Saturday, quelling temporarily the spat between rejected Madrid and remaining candidates Barcelona and Valencia for the Dec 4-6 tie.
Nadal, from the island of Mallorca, has no preference between the Catalan capital and smaller Valencia to the south.
“I don’t say no for Barcelona nor yes for Valencia; neither I say no for Valencia nor yes for Barcelona,” said Nadal, headlining this week as the top seed at the China Open with his concern more about his tennis form than any Iberian in-fighting.
“If everyone goes on saying his opinion, we will not be a team,” he argued. “Players should dedicate to play, not to making choices.”
But that’s not the case for others, who have been making their preferences heard in no uncertain terms.
First among equals is veteran and former number one Juan Carlos Ferrero, a native of Valencia with an interest in seeing his hometown earn the honour.
While Barcelona is a solid choice and has already hosted a winning 2000 final over Australia, the defeat of Madrid, whose 650—metre altitude was judged too high, has sparked the most controversy.
The capital, home of a spring Masters 1000 event, had a firm supporter in Fernando Verdasco, who said he “would not support Barcelona because this city already hosted one final.”
Madrid-born Feliciano Lopez was disappointed with the elimination of his home due to the fact that balls fly out of control in the thinner air. “It’s a pity that Madrid is out of race because it deserves the final,” he said.
For Nadal, the bickering must stop — and fast.
“This is not good for team,” he said. “It looks to me that Fernando and Feliciano made their private war for Madrid. It looks that the rest of us don’t like Madrid.”