Rafael Nadal (above), who will be sunning and swimming rather than participating in Davis Cup today.

Months back when we mused about the tie that begins today in Austin, Texas between USA and Spain, we predicted that Nadal would ask out, or that he’d be tired from a long season, and either way, would bolster the chances of Courier’s kids in their second tie under the 4 time major champion and 2 time Davis Cup champion.  We also predicted that the match would be played on a very fast track, which would also enhance the USA’s chances.  Everything about the scheduling, it would seem, has come to benefit the stars and stripes, at least in the pre-tie workups.  The selection of Austin as site by the American team was extremely fortuitous, especially if Andy Roddick was on the fence about playing.  Austin is Roddick’s primary home base and is where the Roddick developmental school is located.  A stand-up guy like Roddick would be hard pressed to skip an event like this in his own backyard, so the venue was extremely well selected by Courier.  Roddick is the greatest singles player in the history of the American Davis Cup team.  Wimbledon quarter-finalist Mardy Fish will be playing second singles in the tie, and 2 time and defending Wimbledon doubles champions Bob and Mike Bryan will play doubles for Team USA.

The Spaniards will be trotting out world #6 David Ferrer and Fernando Verdasco in the singles, as was reported this morning by ESPN, contrary to reports that Feliciano Lopez, fresh off an impressive Wimbledon run, would play in the second singles spot.  Lopez defeated Andy Roddick in a 3rd round upset at SW-19, but it would be hard to imagine the Spanish lefty besting Roddick in successive matches in the same month in best of 5 set tennis on courts that favor Roddick.  As for Spain’s other lefty, Nadal had the following to say about the tie and the ITF:

“The problem is the ITF, my opinion,” said Nadal, on June 27th. “They don’t want to change nothing. They are never able to change nothing on the calendar, nothing in the format of the Davis Cup competition. And some thing they are doing bad, because the best player of the world, a lot of times we are not able to play.

“For me is hard not go to United States and play for my country,” he added. “For somebody can think, ‘Well, he only is think about himself. He is playing his own things. Doesn’t matter about the Davis Cup.’ It’s not my case. … I cannot be in every place. I cannot be competitive every week of the year. My body needs to rest.”


Nadal seems particularly sensitive to criticism regarding Davis Cup, which has more or less organized their schedule the same way since the dawn of time.  Nadal frequently skips this round as it comes so close to Wimbledon, but his rationale about top players not playing would not seem to apply to the top player, Novak Djokovic.  Nadal seems to be talking about Roger Federer, who has hardly played at all in the last 5 years regardless of where and when.

We don’t think Nadal needs to be defensive about his commitment to Davis Cup.  Nor do we think any player who has helped his nation win in Davis Cup needs to explain their rationale for skipping a tie.

By the way, The Tennis Channel just reported that Feliciano Lopez will be playing second singles today at approximately 6 pm against Mardy Fish.  We haven’t looked at the head to head matchups, but we think it’s a bit of a flavor of the month type of decision on the part of the Spanish squad.  Verdasco practices on American hards most of the year, and is the more able player.

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