TENNIS

Understrength Spain faces daunting Davis Cup duel in Canada

Injuries to middle-ranking players compound absence of stars Nadal and Ferrer

J. J. M.
Madrid -
Team Canada's Milos Raonic and Daniel Nestor (R) attend a news conference before the Davis Cup match with Spain in Vancouver,
Team Canada's Milos Raonic and Daniel Nestor (R) attend a news conference before the Davis Cup match with Spain in Vancouver, BEN NELMS (REUTERS)

Spain went into the first round of the 2013 Davis Cup in Canada this weekend with its recent pedigree in the competition — five titles since 2000 and beaten finalist last year — in serious danger.

In the absence of Rafael Nadal, who is due to a make a comeback from injury in Viña del Mar next week, and David Ferrer, who asked to be excluded from this tie to rest, Spain was bound to be without its top two players. Then, Nicolás Almagro (11), Fernando Verdasco (24) and Feliciano López (47) all withdrew injured. For the first time since 1986, according to the Spanish federation, Spain is going into a Davis Cup tie without a top-30 player.

Team captain Àlex Corretja has called up Albert Ramos (51) and Guillermo García-López (82) as his singles players and the jewel in Spain’s doubles crown, Marc López and Marcel Granollers, ranked three and five, respectively. “We can all play doubles as well as singles,” noted Granollers, the highest-ranked singles player of the expedition at 34. “We are all ready.”

“We are here to win,” said Corretja. “Maybe we haven’t got our best players but then few countries can put together a team like this one we have in Canada. We will give our best and fight hard. Motivation is high.”

On the other side of the net will be Milos Raonic, the world number 15 who won the most points on first serve in 2012 and served the second-highest number of aces. Daniel Nestor, world four in doubles, Frank Dancevic (166), and Vasek Pospisil (131), complete the Canada team.

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