Article from DC site:
Third time lucky for Spain?
World No. 2 Rafael Nadalwill open the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group first round tie for favourite Spain in Geneva against Switzerland’s Marco Chiudinelli. In the second tie, Stanislas Wawrinka will face David Ferrer. The full draw is as follows:
Marco Chiudinelli (SUI) v Rafael Nadal (ESP)
Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) v David Ferrer (ESP)
Yves Allegro/Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) v Feliciano Lopez/Fernando Verdasco (ESP)
Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) v Rafael Nadal (ESP)
Marco Chiudinelli (SUI) v David Ferrer (ESP)
Nadal has fully recovered from the thigh problem that prevented him from playing to his full potential in his Australian Open quarterfinal against Chilean Fernando Gonzalez. The youngest-ever winner of the prestigious team trophy - when Spain lifted its second title in 2004, Nadal was just 18 years and 187 days old - has a special feeling for the Davis Cup: "It gives me special emotions, emotions that I don't find in other tournaments. It's one of my big goals."
Since winning on home soil against the likes of Andy Roddick, Mardy Fish and the Bryan twins, Spain has suffered first-round losses on quick surfaces in the Slovak Republic and Belarus, but secured its spot among the Top 16 nations by beating Italy twice in the playoffs.
Swiss choose fast surface
The Swiss have opted for a very rapid surface, too. "It's extremely quick," Ferrer acknowledged after Thursday's draw ceremony which was held in the presence of ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti. Spain’s captain Emilio Sanchez hopes to avoid the "negative three-peat." "We have to start to win abroad as well. We have very good players who have adapted well."
The absence of Roger Federer, who misses the first round for the third straight year because right now the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas isn't his top priority, is a big challenge for the other Swiss.
Especially for Chiudinelli, Federer's friend from school days. The 25-year-old is looking forward to the big occasion: "I will be slightly nervous but then I should be fine. It will be very important to start well into the match."
Chiudinelli might only be the world’s No.137, but he can't be underestimated and has made one of the most impressive comebacks recently. In May 2006, he had dropped as low as No. 795 because of several injuries but since then he has shown signs of better form. For instance, he qualified for the US and Australian Opens, going on to reach the third round in New York after eliminating Feliciano Lopez. Chiudinelli doesn't have a "killer shot" but is solid all over the court and is also known to rise to big occasions. He is ready for Friday: "I will play a bit more aggressively than normal. Of course, it would be nice to give Switzerland the lead."
In the absence of Federer, Wawrinka is the host’s clear number one. He has had a mediocre start to the season with first-round losses in Doha and Auckland followed by a sound defeat by Nadal in the third round at Melbourne Park. "It will be completely different here. I played him the first time in Melbourne and was a bit impressed in the beginning," Wawrinka recalls, "but here it's quicker and we'll have the support of the fans." But the former junior Roland Garros champion doesn't want to think about Sunday's highly anticipated clash of the No. 1s : "We can't think about Sunday yet. We both have a match to play first on Friday and maybe the doubles."
Indeed, Wawrinka will need all his energy on the opening day: He is tied 2-2 in previous meetings with Ferrer, winning the only encounter that wasn't held on clay. Ferrer, who started the year well by capturing the title in Auckland, expects a very tough match: "There will be a few key moments which I'll have to exploit. On this surface, it will be tough to break."
For Saturday's doubles the captains have announced the combinations of Yves Allegro and Wawrinka and the left-handers Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco. Although these nominations can be changed, Switzerland could enter this match with a slight psychological advantage: Allegro defeated the Spaniards last week in Zagreb, partnering Fabrice Santoro. The Swiss doubles specialist doesn't want to read too much into that match: "Of course, I prefer to have won that match but here it will be different and very close."