Madrid, Spain—Spain captain Sergi Bruguera said on Sunday (Monday Philippine time) that Rafael Nadal is “doing well” and wants to play at the inaugural Davis Cup Finals, despite his exertions at the ATP Finals this week.
Hosts Spain play their first tie against Russia in Madrid on Tuesday.
The 33-year-old Nadal was knocked out at the pool stage in London, but did secure the year-end world number one ranking ahead of Novak Djokovic.
Meanwhile, Andy Murray will do a “great job” when he continues his comeback from injury at next week’s inaugural Davis Cup Finals in Madrid, British captain Leon Smith said.
The former world number one claimed his first ATP title since 2017 last month in Antwerp to raise hopes that he could return to the top of the game despite needing career-saving hip surgery earlier this year.
Nadal was a fitness doubt for the season-ending event at the O2 Arena after pulling out of the Paris Masters with an abdominal injury, but managed to produce rousing comebacks in wins over Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
“The truth is that he’s in a great moment,” said Bruguera on the eve of the tournament. “He is doing well and is eager to compete.”
Five-time champions Spain have been handed a difficult draw in Group B with ties against reigning champions Croatia and Russia.
Bruguera said that Spain would not be favorites to progress from the group.
“On clay, I can’t remember the last time Spain lost a Davis Cup tie,” he said.
“But this (hard) surface is what we usually get when we play away from home. We find it more difficult.”
Croatia will be led at the 18-team competition by former US Open champion Marin Cilic and Borna Coric, while Russia boast world number 17 Karen Khachanov and the in-form Andrey Rublev.
Nadal will receive support from Spanish number two Roberto Bautista Agut, Pablo Carreno Busta, Feliciano Lopez and Marcel Granollers.
Murray, who inspired Britain to the 2015 Davis Cup title, will line up alongside his older brother Jamie, Dan Evans, Kyle Edmund and Neal Skupski at the Caja Magica.
“Andy feels great,” said Smith. “He’s obviously extremely happy to be back in tennis.
“He’s training unbelievably hard to get back to his best position, with great focus.
“If he’s picked to play, then I know he will do a great job on the court. That’s not ego, that’s confidence of course.
“He’s still a very good tennis player, he’s pushing (the other) guys ahead. And at the same time, you realize what he’s gone through.”
Britain, who were handed a wildcard for the first tournament since the old World Group was scrapped, will be favorites to progress from a Group E which also features Kazakhstan and the Netherlands.
The teams will face off in two best-of-three-set singles matches in each tie, with one doubles rubber.
“We are very lucky to have three very good singles players and really good doubles options,” added Smith, who is expected to choose either British number one Evans or Edmund to partner Murray, now ranked 125th.
“So I’ve got a few things to ponder in the next couple of days, but it’s a good situation to be in.
“It wasn’t that long ago that it wasn’t like this and the guys all stepped up even though they were ranked 270, 300, 400... Beating guys 30th, 60th in the world.
“That’s why you have to respect any opposition.”
Russia get the finals, revamped by Barcelona footballer Gerard Pique’s Kosmos company, underway on Monday against reigning champions Croatia.
But the Russians have been weakened by the withdrawal of world number four Daniil Medvedev, who has been struggling with exhaustion after a grueling season that saw him reach six consecutive finals.
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by manilastandard.net readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of manilastandard.net. While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.