(AFP) – Top-ranked Rafael Nadal has arrived in Madrid to lead Spain in the new-look Davis Cup Finals.
“It’s a new competition and we must be focused,” Rafa said Sunday. “The first thing is to get familiar with it and to know that each match is vital.”
Spain opens against Russia on Tuesday before facing defending champion Croatia on Wednesday in the men’s international team tournament.
The matches will be played on hard courts at the “Caja Magica” (Magic Box) tennis complex.
“We have been put in a tough group and the surface is obviously not our favourite, but I believe that we are all motivated to be as well prepared as possible,” Rafa said.
“Today was my first day of training and I have been told that the team has been training well, so we hope that we are all in good shape and we can compete well.”
The 19-time Grand Slam winner will be joined by Feliciano Lopez, Roberto Bautista Agut, Pablo Carreno Busta, and Marcel Granollers.
Spain has won the Davis Cup five times, but its last title came in 2011.