"Party's over" for Spain's perfect Davis Cup quartet

Rafael Nadal to concentrate on Olympic title defense in 2012 as Ferrer says time for generational shift

The "fantastic four" of Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer, Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano López that clinched Spain's fifth Davis Cup triumph in Seville on Sunday is unlikely to reunite again.

Nadal, who beat Argentina's Juan Martín del Potro to secure the decisive point, has said he is putting the defense of the gold he won at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 at next year's London games ahead of any Davis Cup action. The world number two has repeatedly expressed his unease at the overloaded calendar of elite tennis.

Ferrer, meanwhile, finds it hard to see how the quartet might come together for another win. "The party's over," said the world number five when he sat down at the press conference after Sunday's win. "We have defended our nation once again. There's a generation of Spanish players coming up close behind us and I think it will be very difficult, almost impossible, for this team to come together and win this competition again."

More information
Gritty Nadal secures Davis Cup for Spain

"I'm going to have a week's vacation to think about my future," said coach Albert Costa, who has won the Davis Cup as both a player and captain.

The four, who first came together against Switzerland in 2007 under then-captain Emilio Sánchez Vicario, have been key to three of Spain's five triumphs in the tournament - in 2008, 2009 and now 2011. Spanish tennis has never had such a rich blend of players. Costa has had six men in the top 30 to choose from, though he has always said that he would put these four first, regardless of their form and ranking.

So with the loss of Nadal and Ferrer, López (ranked 20) and Verdasco (24) could be joined by current world number 10 Nicolás Almagro, who may now have his opportunity with last weekend's reserve Marcel Granollers (ranked 27).

"The key to their success is that they have been a great unit," says Manolo Santana, the former Spanish Davis Cup star who reached finals in 1965 and 1967. "In my era, the team wasn't so complete. [...] Now there is Rafa Nadal who [...] guarantees two points... But then there is a phenomenon like David Ferrer or a doubles duo who can also close out a qualification round."

Marcel Granollers, David Ferrer, Rafael Nadal, Feliciano López, Albert Costa and Fernando Verdasco, cwith the Davis Cup trophy in Seville.
Marcel Granollers, David Ferrer, Rafael Nadal, Feliciano López, Albert Costa and Fernando Verdasco, cwith the Davis Cup trophy in Seville.ALEJANDRO RUESGA
Recomendaciones EL PAÍS
Recomendaciones EL PAÍS