The ITF has announced the official team nominations for the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final between Spain and Argentina, taking place at the Olympic Stadium in Seville on 2-4 December.
The two captains, Albert Costa and Tito Vazquez, have named unchanged line-ups from the World Group play-offs in September, when Spain defeated France 4-1 in Cordoba and Argentina defeated Serbia 3-2 in Belgrade.
The two nations are meeting for the fourth time and Spain yet to be beaten. They claimed their first victory in 1926 and backed it up with further wins in 2003 and 2008. Their latest triumph arrived on away soil in the Final, which is still a sore subject in Argentina.
The team nominations for the Final are listed below.
Albert Costa (captain)
Juan Martin del Potro
Eduardo Schwank - replaced Juan Ignacio Chela at the draw in Seville
Tito Vazquez (captain)
Nadal spearheads strong Spanish side
Rafael Nadal leads a full strength Spanish team into battle alongside David Ferrer, Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco, which is the same line-up that clinched Spain’s last Davis Cup triumph in 2009 when Czech Republic were their opponents in the Final.
Nadal has an impeccable Davis Cup record having lost just one singles rubber in the competition since making his debut in 2004. In fact, it was during that maiden tie, also against the Czechs, that he lost his solitary match to Jiri Novak.
The world No. 2 has since gone on to establish himself as one of the game’s all-time greats with ten Grand Slam triumphs to his name. In 2011, he tasted glory for the sixth time in seven years at Roland Garros and also won the titles at Monte Carlo and Barcelona.
Nadal didn’t play in Spain’s World Group quarterfinal victory over USA in July, but he was present for his team’s wins against Belgium and France in the first round and semifinals, respectively. His Davis Cup singles record stands at 4-0 for this season, and 18-1 overall.
Ferrer, one of the most consistent players in the men’s game, is also a ferocious Davis Cup competitor. The world No. 5 has an impressive 16-4 win-loss singles record and has only been defeated once - against Gael Monfils in 2010 - since losing to David Nalbandian in the 2008 Final.
Nadal and Ferrer are expected to form Spain’s singles duo, leaving Lopez and Verdasco to team up in the doubles rubber. The left-handed pair are a vastly experienced partnership when it comes to Davis Cup having played together 12 times in the past.
Spain are chasing their fifth Davis Cup crown. They lifted the famous old trophy for the first time in 2000 and then went on to lift it another three times in the same decade, with further wins in 2004, 2008 and 2009.
Argentina look to del Potro
Juan Martin del Potro has been tasked with leading the Argentine challenge alongside Juan Monaco, Juan Ignacio Chela and David Nalbandian, in what is also a full strength side.
Del Potro won the US Open in 2009 but was then plagued with a wrist injury for the next 12 months, and only returned to Argentina’s Davis Cup team in July when they whitewashed Kazakhstan in the World Group quarterfinals in Buenos Aires.
The world No. 11 followed this up with a match-winning performance against defending champions Serbia in Belgrade. He opened with a straight sets victory over Janko Tipsarevic and then clinched the tie when Novak Djokovic was forced to retire in the fourth rubber, although credit should go to the Argentine who was leading 76(5) 3-0 at the time.
Del Potro possesses a 9-2 win-loss singles record in Davis Cup. His only two defeats came against Sweden’s Robin Soderling in 2007 and Spain’s Feliciano Lopez in the 2008 Final. Since then he has gone five matches unbeaten.
Vazquez’s biggest decision will come when he decides who to pick as his second singles player on day one, the in-form Juan Monaco, ranked No. 26, or the experienced David Nalbandian, ranked No. 64.
Monaco finished runner-up of the recent tournament in Valencia and then reached the quarterfinals of the Paris Masters. Nalbandian, on the other hand, hasn't been showing his best form of late, but is always the man for the big occasion when it comes to Davis Cup.
One option for the Argentine captain would be to play Monaco on day one and keep Nalbandian fresh for the final day, should his services be required. He used this tactic to excellent effect against Sweden last year.
Vazquez’s other major decision will be who to pick in the doubles rubber. Chela is Argentina’s highest ranked doubles player named in the team and is likely to be called upon, but both Monaco and Nalbandian are possible partners.
Argentina are still chasing their first ever Davis Cup title having fallen at the final hurdle on three previous occasions, in 1981, 2006 and 2008. Only India and Romania can equal this unwanted record of having contested three Finals without success, but the Argentines will be desperate to set the record straight in Seville.
You can follow all the action as it happens on the Davis Cup website with live scoring, streaming and radio commentary.