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Corretja ready to lead Spanish ‘B team’

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Originally published on: 09/02/12 10:28

Alex Corretja will take over the reigns from Alberto Costa this weekend when he leads the Spanish Davis Cup team for the first time.

The 37-year-old Barcelona native, who coached world No.4 Andy Murray for three years until 2011, replaced the outgoing Costa shortly after Spain secured their fifth Davis Cup title in Seville last December.

The former world No.2 – a member of the first Spanish team to lift the Davis Cup in 2000 – will be tasked with leading a ‘B team’ to success on home soil when they host Kazakhstan in Oviedo.

Davis Cup regulars Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer indicated that they would not play a part in the team competition this year with the Olympics in mind, and with Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez also out of contention for the first round tie, Corretja will field Nicolas Almagro, Marcel Granollers, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Marc Lopez for Spain’s first ever meeting with Kazakhstan in Davis Cup.

And Corretja is not daunted by the prospect of having to do without his country’s top-ranked players.

“It’s not something I’m thinking about at the moment because I have the duty to build a team with the four players that we think are best suited,” Corretja told the Davis Cup website. “I have the luck of having four big players that are very keen to play and that’s what matters the most. There are others that could be here but are not, but I also that them for their availability.

“Spanish tennis is not only four players,” he continued. ”There are a lot more and I think it’s extremely important to have different options to build a team depending on different conditions, surfaces and rivals. In this occasion, we have a very, very solid team.”

Corretja also defended the inclusion of Juan Carlos Ferrero, who featured alongside him during their 2000 Davis Cup triumph.

The former world No.1 has not won a match so far in 2012, having lost first round encounters to Benoit Paire in Auckland and Viktor Troicki at the Australian Open, but Corretja is confident the 31-year-old world No.48 has plenty to bring to the table.

“He will increase the level,” he said. “You can have a great deal of experience but if you don’t have the level you would miss a lot. He has the level, experience and wisdom. He has been in the team, and he has won. A lot of victories have been achieved thanks to him and for me it’s a privilege to have him available.

“I know him well, I played alongside him, we’ve been in the same team, and we’ve shared moments of great tension and also of great happiness. Having Ferrero is very important in a totally new team like this one, with a new captain, new vice captain.”

Spain will kick off their title defence against Yegor Shaldunov’s selections – Mikhail Kukushkin, Andrey Golubev, Yuriy Schukin and Evgeny Korolev – at 1pm GMT on Friday.

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