DAVID FERRER - World number five

"The Davis Cup shouldn't be annual"

World number five David Ferrer, fresh from a semifinal appearance at the ATP World Tour Finals in London, will be in the Spain team to face Argentina at the weekend as it seeks a fifth Davis Cup crown in 11 years on clay in Seville. It won't be a simple task, with Argentina fielding a strong team of Juan Martín del Potro, Juan Mónaco, Juan Ignacio Chela and David Nalbandian. Del Potro and Nalbandian, the likely singles participants to play Ferrer and Rafa Nadal, have been practicing in Seville since last week.

Question. Argentina has never won the Davis Cup and it is chasing it with determination. For years the Salad Bowl was also unassailable to Spain. Has it lost a little of its value now Spain has won it so many times?

Answer. When you have never won it, it is something special. It's a different competition. From outside you view it as something much more important. Later, from inside, you see it differently. The Davis Cup is played every year and it makes it hard for players: we have a lot to lose and not much to gain. It loses value because it is annual. Lots of people don't play because of the calendar. At the end of the day, we live through our ranking. The format should be changed so we don't arrive [at the final] so worn-out. Before there were fewer tournaments and more people played the Davis Cup. Even though it's a nice tournament, with such a packed calendar it becomes complicated.

Q. How will fatigue affect the final?

A. They are much more rested, that's obvious. They have played much less than us. They will be fresh. But this is not the moment to complain; it's the moment to adapt [from hard courts to clay] as quickly as possible.

Q. "He just swept me aside," you said after losing the opening rubber against Nalbandian in the 2008 final. What do you remember about that tie in Mar de Plata?

A. It was strange on a personal level but professionally everything went well. Del Potro was tired after the Masters Cup and Feliciano [López] was spectacular. I had never seen him play so well. When [Fernando] Verdasco hit the winning shot on the decisive point it was a dream. Personally, I was going through a tough time in my life, maybe the worst I had ever been through. I wasn't right in the mental aspect or in tennis terms.

Q. On your bookshelf is Enredados (or, Tangled), a book about the battle of egos over the years in the Argentinean locker room. Spain has three top 10 players and there doesn't seem to be a similar problem. Why?

A. Each player knows that the Davis Cup is about the team, not the individual; you have to support your teammates. Loyal help is important. Feliciano, Fer [Verdasco] and I have known each other since we were kids. Rafa is a leader, a person who passes on a lot. We have a good relationship, a special one. And also with other players who come into the team.

Q. Nalbandian is not very expansive with the media. Is he different in the locker room?

A. Absolutely. Every player has his temperament, but he is very polite, generous and humble. He is the same age as me. I've always coincided with him. I can tell him things I can't tell other people that I don't share that kind of confidence with. The people Rafa and me get on best with are Mónaco and David. He is my PlayStation partner and we play against Rafa and Pico [Mónaco]. We bet things like push-ups, going to the hotel lobby with your trousers round your ankles...

Q. What's he like on court?

A. He is very talented. He has a great backhand. He returns well. He has won big tournaments and maybe hasn't done even better because of injuries.

David Ferrer, who lost his first Davis Cup match in 2006, holds an 11-0 competition record on clay.
David Ferrer, who lost his first Davis Cup match in 2006, holds an 11-0 competition record on clay.CORDON PRESS
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