Argentina’s captain Martin Jaite has announced a full-strength team to face Croatia in their Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group quarterfinal tie at the Parque Roca in Buenos Aires on 6-8 April.
Juan Martin del Potro, who missed Argentina’s 4-1 away win over Germany in the first round, makes a welcome return to the line-up alongside David Nalbandian, Juan Monaco and Eduardo Schwank, while Juan Ignacio Chela is available as a reserve.
“The idea of calling five players is related to the fact that we have started a new stage this year and we travelled to Germany with the four players that were in better shape, without Juan Martin (del Potro),” said Jaite.
“We decided that it was important to keep these four players, regardless of the addition of del Potro. The idea is to have Chela as an alternative in case anything happens to any of the other players.”
Del Potro has already picked up a title in 2012 after victory at Open 13 in Marseille and, if it wasn’t for Roger Federer, who has beaten him four times already this season, he may have added to his tally.
The world No. 11 missed the majority of 2010 with a wrist injury before making a successful comeback in 2011, culminating with two titanic losses against Spanish duo David Ferrer and Rafael Nadal at the Davis Cup Final in Seville.
Nalbandian, who has dropped to No. 50 in the rankings, seems to save his best tennis for Davis Cup and goes into this tie with an incredible 36-10 win-loss record from 23 ties. In the last four years he has only lost one singles rubber, against Gael Monfils.
Despite Nalbandian’s impressive Davis Cup form, Monaco is actually Argentina’s second highest ranked player at No. 21 and is expected to feature on the singles court at some stage.
Schwank, on the other hand, is the side’s doubles specialist and his most likely partner is Nalbandian. The pair have successfully teamed up in Argentina’s last two ties against Spain and Germany.
Croatia are yet to announce their team to travel to Buenos Aires, although it’s expected that their top player Marin Cilic, the world No. 23, will return after overcoming a knee injury. He was absent from the Croatian side that recorded a tight 3-2 away victory over Japan in the first round.
“The Croatian team recovered Cilic, but is yet to announce the players that will form the team,” added Jaite. “Although their style is more suited for fast courts, they are not easy to play against because they don’t allow you to build momentum.
“Croatia is a very prestigious rival and we need to have our feet on the ground, beyond the euphoria that surrounds us. We take this tie very seriously, there are very dangerous players and we face it with humility and responsibility.”
The winner of this tie will face either Czech Republic or Serbia in the semifinals in September.