Vamos Rafa! Confianza!
Nadal worried about Davis Cup tie in Slovakia
Mon Feb 28, 2005 12:43 PM GMT
MADRID, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Rafael Nadal is concerned about Spain's prospects in their opening Davis Cup tie in Slovakia despite enjoying early-season form himself.
"Personally I've started the year much better than I expected," said the 18-year-old after notching up back-to-back ATP titles in Brazil and Acapulco.
"I had gone off hoping to win one tournament and I've come back having won two and reached the quarter-finals in Buenos Aires against Gaston Gaudio."
But Nadal, who played a key role in Spain's victory over the United States in last year's Davis Cup final, said that the team would have to be on top form if they were to avoid a first round defeat against Slovakia this weekend.
"I'm worried because it's going to be a very difficult tie and we will have to be at 100 percent over the three days if we want to get through," he said.
"Slovakia are the favourites because they are playing at home on their own courts and the record books show that winning away from home is pretty difficult."
With Carlos Moya opting out of the Davis Cup this year to concentrate on individual tournaments and Juan Carlos Ferrero and Tommy Robredo recovering from injury, Nadal is the only survivor from last December's triumph against the United States.
The Mallorca-born player will be joined by the experienced Albert Costa - a veteran of Spain's triumph in the 2000 final against Australia - and youngsters Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez.
Former French Open champion Costa was marginally more upbeat than Nadal about Spain's chances of getting past the first round this time.
"The Slovaks are a tough team and will be more so on their own courts and in front of their home crowd but I don't doubt that we will win."
The last time Spain defended their crown in the Davis Cup they fell victim to the Netherlands in the first round.