Archive for the '2009 Davis Cup' Category


Spain’s Davis Cup team praised by the Prime Minister.

Spain’s prime minister honored the Davis Cup-winning team in a ceremony at his official residence on Monday.

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero praised Rafael Nadal and his teammates for successfully defending the title after completing a 5-0 victory over the Czech Republic in the final on Sunday.

The country’s overall sporting success has coincided with a period of dominance in tennis, Zapatero said.

“We have a generation of athletes that is without doubt the best in the history of Spain,” Zapatero said. “You know how to win with humility and elegance, you know how to play and fight during the tough moments and you have shown us how it’s done.”

Nadal opened the best-of-five series on indoor clay with a victory over Tomas Berdych. On Sunday, he defeated Jan Hajek to help Spain close out its win. His teammates included Fernando Verdasco, Tommy Robredo, Feliciano Lopez and David Ferrer.

The second-ranked Nadal, a four-time French Open champion, was singled out by Zapatero for special praise.

“You are a magnificent symbol and ambassador,” Zapatero said. “Someone who shows us how things should be done, how to be a great sportsman and person.”

Spain has won four Davis Cup finals, 20 consecutive best-of-five series on clay and 18 straight series at home going back to 1999.


Nadal, Ferrer, Verdasco & Lopez win the Cup for Spain.

Nadal had the important role of being Spain’s cheerleader-in-chief at Barcelona’s Palau Sant Jordi, with the world No 2 loudly celebrating every point that Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez won on the way to defeating Radek Stepanek and Tomas Berdych in the Davis Cup final, meaning the home nation retained the trophy they won in Argentina last season.

All four of Spain’s Davis Cup successes have come during the Noughties. It was here in this stadium, in 2000, that Spain won the Davis Cup for the first time. On that occasion, Nadal’s involvement was to carry Spain’s flag during the on-court ceremonies. And the Spanish keep on winning ‘La Ensaladera’, their affectionate name for the salad bowl-shaped trophy.

If the grand slam nations of Great Britain, the United States, France and Australia dominated this team competition during the twentieth century, there can be little doubt which country has been the superpower in the opening decade of the twenty-first century.

Spain needed just two days of the three-day tie here on the Montjuic Hill to become the first country since Sweden in 1998 to successfully defend the trophy.

While Nadal had some difficulties in the middle of the season, when he had his first defeat at the French Open and he had to withdraw from Wimbledon because of injury, the beginning and end of his year have been successful.

At Melbourne Park in February, Nadal beat Roger Federer in the Australian Open final to win his first hard-court grand slam title, and now this in December.

Nadal had done his bit on the clay when he demolished Berdych in the opening singles rubber on Friday afternoon, and yesterday he watched as Verdasco and Lopez saved one set point in the opening set tiebreak, and then went on to achieve a 7-6, 7-5, 6-2 victory.

Between points, the only man who was getting more attention from the television cameras than Nadal was Spain’s Crown Prince Felipe.


Ferrer wins in 5 sets 1-6, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 8-6.

    Ferrer has done it, what a fantastic effort. He’s fought back from two sets down to win an epic five-setter and the Spaniards now have one hand on the trophy. They lead 2-0 after day one and the Czechs have a mountain to climb on Saturday and Sunday.

Following Nadal’s straight set victory over Berdych, the Czech fans were looking to Stepanek to win his match with Ferrer to tie the series going into Saturday. All went well for the first two sets, and the wheels came off as Ferrer found his form, dusted of the rust and fought back to win in 5 sets. The fat lady is not singing yet, but she is warming up!


Rafa must win if Spain hopes to retain the Cup.

Rafael Nadal will play Tomas Berdych in the opening match of the Davis Cup final against the Czech Republic in Barcelona. The world No 2 will be hoping to improve after losing his past four matches – including all three at last week’s ATP World Tour Finals in London.

David Ferrer will face Radek Stepanek in the second singles match of the best-of-five series that starts on Friday.

Ferrer, who hasn’t played since November because of a hamstring injury, was picked to play singles ahead of Fernando Verdasco, who also lost all three of his matches in London.

In Saturday’s doubles, Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez will take on Lukas Dlouhy and Jan Halek, with the tie being played indoors on clay at the Palau Sant Jordi.

Spain, the defending champions, remain the favourites but the form of both of their leading men is a cause for concern.

“It wasn’t a big surprise,” Nadal said of his ATP Tour defeats. “When you are not 100 per cent at a tournament like that you’re going to lose. Here I am 100 per cent. I will be playing a little bit better I hope. You can’t always play perfect but I think I’m ready for tomorrow.”

Nadal, who has a 10-0 record in singles rubbers on clay, has won his past four matches against Berdych since an bad-tempered defeat in Madrid three years ago.

“There’s no problem between Rafael and I,” Berdych said. “I don’t think this will play a part in this game. He’s going to play at home and he’s going to play on his favourite surface. He’s going to be at his best.”


The Davis Cup draw for this weekend.

The draw for the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final between Spain and Czech Republic has been made at Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona.

The full draw is as follows:

Friday 4 December – Play starts at 1600 (1500 GMT)
Rafael Nadal (ESP) v Tomas Berdych (CZE)
David Ferrer (ESP) v Radek Stepanek (CZE)

Saturday 5 December – Play starts at 1600 (1500 GMT)
Feliciano Lopez / Fernando Verdasco (ESP) v Lukas Dlouhy / Jan Hajek (CZE)

Sunday 6 December – Play starts at 1200 (1100 GMT)
Rafael Nadal (ESP) v Radek Stepanek (CZE)
David Ferrer (ESP) v Tomas Berdych (CZE)

It is interesting to note that Alberta Costa has chosen not to play Verdasco in the singles rubbers, he will only play in the doubles. Lukas Dlouhy, the highest ranked doubles player on either team, along with his partner Jan Hajek should have little trouble with the Spanish pair. By the end of Saturday’s play Czechs should be ahead 2-1. The 2009 Davis Cup will come down to the Ferrer/Berdych contest on Sunday.


Czech mate?…it will be close….

At the start of this season, defeat for Spain in a home Davis Cup tie against a nation like the Czech Republic – solid, but hardly one of the competition’s powerhouses – would have been unthinkable.

But that was before Nadal’s season became hampered by injuries and before the brief promise of David Ferrer and Fernando Verdasco also faded into relative mediocrity the further they got from the clay-court season.

Make no mistake, Nadal, Verdasco and co are still favourites to defeat a Czech team led by Radek Stepanek and Tomas Berdych when they meet in Barcelona on Friday.

But there are plenty of pointers to suggest a Spanish victory will not necessarily be as straightforward as any tennis pundit in their right mind would have predicted some time ago.

For a start, there is the increasing concern over Nadal’s form since his return from injury, a concern underlined by his woes at the World Tour finals, where he lost all three matches and was bounced out.

Even Nadal himself hints at needing a break.

“The batteries sometimes finish and you need to buy new ones, that’s what I’m going to do next year,” said Nadal after rounding off his London appearance with a loss to Novak Djokovic.

If that wasn’t worrying enough for Spain coach Albert Costa, Verdasco also left London with three straight losses and some injury concerns and admitted the Czechs enter the final with a distinct advantage.

“It is important to have more time to prepare for the Davis Cup final,” admitted Verdasco. “They were practising for a week on clay already. We will have to get used to it as soon as possible.”

The prodigiously talented Berdych has been in his usual infuriating form all year, flattering to deceive at regular intervals and somehow still failing to announce his big-time arrival with a Grand Slam breakthrough.

Berdych was beaten on the US hard courts by Nadal this year but also took a set off Verdasco in a tight tie in Barcelona and won the clay-court event in Munich. The feeling persists that he thrives when the rest least expect it.

Meanwhile, the mercurial, clever Stepanek ended a patchy year on something of a high, reaching the semi-finals in Basel then repeating the feat at the Paris Masters, beating Andy Murray and Juan Martin Del Potro along the way.


Stepanek, the Czech clown, could become a National hero!

Of all the top players, the one that nobody wants to play against is Radek Stepanek. He has an irritating style of play that defies the best laid plans of his opposition. He can be a serve and volleyer, or a baseline and drop shot exponent, or he can be a combination of both styles. He is unpredictable, hard to read, impossible to wear down, and a proverbial pain in the ass. And he carries the hopes of his country’s success in the upcoming Davis Cup, on his shoulders. One thing for sure is that he won’t go down quietly to the Spanish powerhouse. He will find a way to win at least one of his singles matches, and the doubles. It will be up to his team mate Thomas Berdych to win just one of his matches to give the Czech team a victory.

In the Davis Cup first round tie against France, he lost his opening match to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets. But he regained his confidence and won the doubles rubber the next day and his second singles match against Gilles Simon in straight sets to give the Czech Republic its way to the quarter-finals. Then, in the Davis Cup quarter-finals, he won the deciding fifth rubber to lead his country to the semi-finals. In the semi-finals, Stepanek battled Ivo Karlovic to a 6-7 7-6 7-6 6-7 16-14 victory in a marathon opener in which the 82 games played equalled the highest number in a Davis Cup rubber since the introduction of the tiebreak in 1989. In that match, he was aced 78 times, but overall hit more winners with over 170 (including service winners). The match was one of the longest in the history of the Davis Cup, lasting 5 h 59 min. There were only three breaks of serve in this match.

He had been engaged to Swiss tennis star Martina Hingis, but they split up in August 2007. Štěpánek is currently dating Czech tennis player Nicole Vaidišová.

Stepanek also owns a condominium in Bradenton, Florida. He is coached by former Australian Open champion Petr Korda.


Rafa is practising hard for the Davis Cup.

The Spanish Armada has completed their the second day of training for the World Group Davis Cup Final against the Czech Republic, which takes place from the 4th to 6th of December at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona.

The first training session took place in the morning with Rafa practicing for just over two hours with David Ferrer. While Feliciano Lopez and Juan Carlos Ferrero exercised on the practice court. The second one (scheduled for the afternoon) had David Ferrer and Juan Carlos Ferrero traineing on center court while the other players of the team has been in massage and recovery sessions with physiotherapists at the Spanish Mapfre Selection.

Rafa, who had not returned to the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona since he was the champion of the Davis Cup team in 2000, said in a press conference that “the sensations of this first training session were good, and I am eager to help the team in this final.”

Then he continued to explain that “the court is in good condition considering it was barely finished and in time will be perfect for Friday”.

Last night, all members of the Spanish Mapfre selection met at the hotel to follow the developments of the match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, which (sadly for Rafa) Real lost 1-0.


Spain’s chances would be better without these two!

Alberto Costa, the Spanish Davis Cup team captain, should be worried about his two top players. The ATP tour finals are over for Nadal and Verdasco, the two worst players in the tournament, and they are both headed home to represent their country in the Davis Cup against the well rested Czech team.

Nadal was the only player in London who never won a set, and Verdasco lost all three of his matches. It is possible that both players are injured, but even if they are healthy Costa would be smart to consider choosing two fresh players from the wealth of talent that Spain has available.

Ferrer, Robredo, Ferrero, Almegro, Montanes and Lopez are all available, and all capable of representing their country against the underdog Czech team. On clay when he is in form Rafa is almost unbeatable, but he is not in form, nor has he played on clay since the Madrid Open(which he lost to Federer). Verdasco is ready for surgery, and should be sidelined.

For the sake of the team both Nadal and Verdasco should withdraw voluntarily from the Davis Cup final, and not put Costa in unenviable position.


Don’t count these guys out of the Davis Cup Final!

With or without Verdasco the Spanish Davis Cup team will enter the final as the odds on favourites. They are at home, on clay, and have 2 top ten players in their lineup, whereas the Czechs have none. Looks like an easy romp for the home team. But they might be over confident.

Rafa on clay, even at 75% of his norm is still the best clay court player and will win both his matches. The doubles I give to the Czechs, they are the best pair. So it all comes down to Spain’s #2 player, and whether it is Ferrer or Verdasco, Radel Stepanik will win his rubber. The score could be tied 2-2 going into the final match between Berdych and Verdasco/Ferrer……a toss up!

Fernando Verdasco will be hoping to shake off some niggly injuries to take his place in the Spanish team to face Czech Republic in next week’s Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final in Barcelona.

Verdasco has been selected in the squad by Albert Costa, Spain’s captain, alongside Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez. It will be his 11th Davis Cup tie since making his debut against Slovak Republic in 2006.

“The foot is feeling good,” said Verdasco, who is competing at the ATP World Tour Finals in London this week. “Physically, I was with some problems in my knees but I took some days off.

“I hope that all the matches here at the Masters will be without pain and also I will arrive in Spain to play the Davis Cup feeling good. I need to see day-by-day how I will feel and then we will see if I am the best option to play.

“If not, I will not be angry. I just want to win the Final of the Davis Cup and if it’s me playing, and I’m the one, then of course I’ll be so happy.

“But if I’m not ready, or if I have pain, or I feel that Ferrer or another guy of my team is in better shape than me and can play better than me, then I will talk to the captain.

“I will not be selfish and think only about myself. I will think about the team and winning the Davis Cup, whoever plays the matches.”

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