Powerhouse Spain will bid for a fourth Davis Cup title in five years and a sixth overall - but without the services of Rafael Nadal - as it faces a date against the Czech Republic from Friday in the final of the prestige team competition.
Spanish captain Alex Corretja should not be worried by the lack of Nadal, with an Iberian talent pool well supplemented by indoor threat David Ferrer, winner of back-to-back titles in Valencia and Paris along with a solid showing at last week’s ATP wrapup in London where he barely missed a semi-final spot.
Also onside in singles will be 11th-ranked Nicolas Almagro with London champions Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez filling the doubles role.
Ferrer buried his London disappointment as he headed east to the Czech capital determined to help lead Spain to Davis Cup trophy number seven in a run of international form which began in 2000.
“We will try to do a very good tie, to will win, and I hope to will win my match and will do one point for Spain.”
The Czechs will be led by London participant Tomas Berdych and veteran campaigner Radek Stepanek, with Rosol and Ivo Minar also on the squad.
The tie is a re-run of the 2009 final which Spain won easily at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona.
The home court factor could have an effect. Only once in the last six years has a nation managed to win the title playing away from home - Spain, who beat Argentina in 2008.
The court speed at the O2 arena has been a minor pre-tie talking point, with some voicing fears that a dodgy ultra-fast court has been laid down.
Berdych said the surface was well within the rules. “Probably the Spanish don’t know there are some rules that you cannot make the surface actually as fast as you want. That’s the rule of the speed of the court. So the court is going to be in between of the rules.”DPA
The 100th Davis Cup final
Czech Republic vs Spain
Opening singles on Friday, doubles on Saturday and
reverse singles on Sunday
Radek Stepanek vs David Ferrer
Tomas Berdych vs Nicolas Almagro
Ivo Minar and Lukas Rosol vs Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez Tomas Berdych vs David Ferrer
Radek Stepanek vs Nicolas Almagro