Davis Cup: All set to sizzle in Seville
Originally published on: 01/12/11 13:26
As we sit in the calmness of the media centre on the eve of the 2011 Davis Cup final (the 99th for those who have been counting), it is hard to believe that tomorrow the Olympic Stadium will be teeming with 22,121 noisy supporters who will come to play their part in creating the atmosphere as Spain and Argentina meet for the second time in a Davis Cup final. Spain hold a 3-0 advantage over Argentina, including winning their last meeting, the 2008 final, 3-1 in Mar del Plata. There’s still plenty for the organisers to get ready behind the scenes – including yards of red carpet to be revealed from underneath the protective plastic.
If Spain wins, it will be the fifth time they’ve bagged the Davis Cup, having triumphed in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2009. Given the fact that the Spaniards have won their last 20 home ties, it will be fascinating to see if the South Americans can finally end this impressive run.
The draw was completed today and Rafael Nadal will look to open the Spanish account when he steps onto the indoor clay to face Juan Monaco. They have faced off only three times before and Nadal leads their head-to-head 2-1. Their last meeting came in 2007 when the Argentine won on the hard courts of Cincinnati, but Nadal won both previous encounters on clay in 2005 and 2007. A lot has changed since then of course. There are now just 24 places between them in the rankings; Monaco ranks at 26 in the world, compared to Rafa’s No.2. The Argentine reached the fourth round of this year’s US Open, where he fell to Roger Federer in straight sets. He’ll be looking for a major win when he steps out on court against the 25 year old, but Nadal will be in his element as he steps on court.
The Spaniard may be tired, by his own admission, but he loves playing at home and relishes Davis Cup. “We are very excited and have a big illusion to try to play our best and to try to win the fifth title,” he said earlier this week. “We want to enjoy a fantastic atmosphere here and feel the love of the crowd.”
David Ferrer, whose arrival in Seville was delayed by his advancement to the semi-finals of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London last week, takes on Juan Martin del Potro in the second rubber on Friday. With a world ranking of No.5 the Spaniard is ranked higher than del Potro, who has clawed his way to No.11, but they are tied at 2-2 in their past head-to-heads. Del Potro has been victorious in their last two meetings, the most recent in Miami in 2009 when he won 6-3 6-2. Curiously they have never played on clay.
There’s a stunning line up for day one but if you can’t make it to Seville – and though there were still seats on the plane this morning there were only 5000 tickets left for the weekend, all with restricted view – throw a sickie from work or follow all the action surreptitiously on any digital device you can find. If you have a tennis heart, you’re going to be palpitating with the 2011 Davis Cup final. Argentina would love to be the 14th different nation and the first team from South Amercia to get their hands on this trophy, but I sense there may be a long weekend ahead before we see the name of the winning nation carved into the giant Davis Cup plinth.