Spain Tanks Davis Cup Doubles, Looks to Clinch in Sunday Singles

Posted on December 4, 2004

Juan Carlos Ferrero, it's safe to say, is not exactly enjoying his 2004 Davis Cup final experience.

After the humiliation of getting pulled from the singles line-up on Friday in favor of 18-year-old first-year rookie Rafael "The Prodigy" Nadal, Ferrero was inserted into the doubles line-up Saturday with Tommy Robredo and was on the receiving end of a 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 embarrassment at Olympic Stadium in Seville.

It's a mystery why the Spanish coaches would choose to embarrass Ferrero in from of the 27,200-capacity crowd. The former No. 1 has never won a career doubles title, and this year lost first round in both his doubles outings.

The Spanish "G-3" cabal of coaches (Jordi Arrese, Juan Avendano, and Jose Perlas) chose to rest Nadal, who was scheduled to pair with Robredo, after his singles heroics over Andy Roddick on Friday. It was thought that Ferrero would play a key role on Sunday, but now the money seems to be on the next-generation Nadal.

"When I close my eyes of course I want to see myself on court on Sunday and I want to see myself winning on Sunday," said Ferrero after Nadal was initially chosen for the singles. "Of course I felt a bit surprised by the decision but one has to accept it."

But like a bad dream, Ferrero found himself on the doubles court Saturday against the former French Open champion and two-time Masters Cup-winning Bryan brothers, who midway though looked like they might keep the best-of-five set match under an hour.

For the G-3 it was perhaps a mental tactic, a slap in the face to the American opponents to put in Ferrero (who has a 3-19 career win-loss record in doubles) against the Bryans, essentially saying, 'This is how little the doubles point means to us. Let's have a little circus entertainment Saturday before our singles players blank the U.S. again on Sunday.'

Ferrero was expectedly despondent following the match.

"I am barely used to playing doubles but I am here to play and this was what I was asked to do," Ferrero said.

Asked if he saw himself as a fall guy in the doubles, Ferrero said, "If I say yes to the question, of course that would not be good for the team. Let me just say that I am here. I am part of the team. The first day it was not considered appropriate that I play and it was considered appropriate that I played today in the doubles match because Rafael is tired and because he had a very long match yesterday. That's the answer to the question. Yesterday was disappointing to me to not play in this fantastic stadium, you know, with all the crowd supporting us. But today I wanted to play because it's one more point to Spain. But, of course, I knew that this is very difficult to play against the Bryans and to win against them."

Now Spain leads the tie 2-1 and the U.S. must sweep the singles on Sunday, with Carlos Moya against Roddick, and if the tie is still live, the scheduled fifth match of Nadal versus Fish.