Spain’s new captain Alex Corretja has today announced the team that will face Kazakhstan in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group first round in Oviedo on 10-12 February. The four nominated players are Nicolas Almagro, Marcel Granollers, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Marc Lopez.
The detail that stands out is the absence of the four players that won the 2011 Davis Cup Final last December, defeating Argentina 3-1 in Seville, although this does not come as a surprise as it had been announced in the post-Final press conference last year.
Corretja has put his confidence in Almagro, a player who despite being currently ranked No. 11 in the world has only played in three Davis Cup ties during his career, mainly down to the quality that Spain possess with the likes of Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer normally in the line-up.
Almagro made his Davis Cup debut against Peru in 2008 under then-captain Emilio Sanchez and went on to make two further appearances under the stewardship of Albert Costa. In total, he has played five rubbers in three ties with a 3-2 win-loss record.
The other big news is the return of veteran Ferrero, a former world No. 1 and Roland Garros champion who was a key member of the team that lifted Spain’s first Davis Cup trophy in 2000. The current world No. 47 has won the competition on two different occasions, also in 2004, but has been out of the team since 2009.
Marcel Granollers will also be part of the side in Oviedo. The Barcelona-born player has travelled with the team on a number of occasions during the last few years, although his playing opportunities have been scarce. The 25-year-old is a doubles specialist and in the past has frequently partnered with Marc Lopez, the player that completes the four-strong team.
Kazakhstan, playing in the World Group for the second straight year after their quarterfinal appearance in 2011, are yet to announce their line-up for the trip to Oviedo, with official team nominations not due until 31 January. Mikhail Kukushkin and Andrey Golubev are the usual partnership to lead the Kazakh challenge.
The tie, which sees Spain and Kazakhstan meet each other for the first time, will be played on a purpose-built clay court at the Palacio de los Deportes in Oviedo, the capital city of the Spanish northern region of Asturias. Live streaming of the tie is available throughout the weekend - starting on 10 February at 2pm local time - on the official Davis Cup video website: DavisCup.tv