Spain’s Davis Cup captain Albert Costa has named a full strength team for next month’s World Group first round clash with Belgium in Charleroi, including world No. 1 Rafael Nadal.
Nadal is making his first appearance since lifting the trophy in 2009 and is joined in the Spanish side by fellow Top 10 players David Ferrer and Fernando Verdasco, as well as the experienced Feliciano Lopez.
"Nadal is an injection of optimism and improves the team spirit, offering more security to the rest of the members,” said Costa. "Having the No. 1 player in the world is important for all of us and makes us feel more confident as a team. We are very grateful for that.”
The inclusion of Nadal reaffirms Spain’s position as favourite for the tie against Belgium and, if he is available for the rest of the year, makes the four-time champions the team to beat in this year’s competition.
Nadal, a nine-time Grand Slam winner, was sorely missed by Spain in 2010, particularly in the World Group quarterfinals when Costa’s men crashed out 5-0 against neighbours France. It was a first whitewash defeat for the Spaniards in over 50 years.
The official player nominations are due on 22 February, when Belgian captain Reginald Willems will also be hoping to name his strongest line-up, including Xavier Malisse and Olivier Rochus.
The Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group first round is taking place on 4-6 March.