Spain captured its fifth Davis Cup title today when Rafael Nadal clinched the 3-1 victory with a thrilling 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-6(0) win over Juan Martin Del Potro and Argentina in the fourth rubber.
“I had really tough moments during the match, but I was all the time believing in myself to try to win this match,” said Nadal after the 4-hour, 8-minute affair. “I know it was my day, it was my moment, and I had to believe more than ever with the victory. That’s what I tried. For moments I played so so; for moments I played well. But, you know, he was playing really aggressive from the baseline, fantastic shots, was very difficult to come back from this, his flat shots, and it was a really difficult match. But finally I find something was very important. The second game of the second set, 1 Love, 40 Love with break, so had to break back in that game give me a lot. So after that the match was more equal, more close. So after that game I felt that the match started for me.”
After Nadal seemingly siezed control late in the third set, Del Potro, who play well over four hours Friday in a five set loss to David Ferrer, somehow managed to garner the strength to rise up again. And the two played a see-saw, tumultuous fourth set eventually won by Nadal who swept the tiebreaker.
“It was a little bit surprise,” Nadal said of Del Potro’s late match comeback. “But at that moment, you know, the crowd stop the match for five, six minutes, so that’s makes that didn’t help it. So after that, I started to feel a little bit the nerves and the pressure then.
So I think I played a little bit worse later, especially in the 2 1, in the 3 2, in that two games with my serve I think I played really bad.”
Nadal quickly fell behind early in the match and then early in the second, already down a set, he went down a break in the second, but immediately rebounded to return the break against Del Potro to get back on even ground.
“For a long time he was giving incredible shots that nobody else can do,” Nadal said of Del Potro’s fast start. “I want to congratulate him for his attitude. He had a brilliant attitude, both him and the Argentinian team. They had a brilliant attitude, fighting really hard. They made it really difficult for us.”
Spain’s only loss over the weekend came Saturday when Nalbandian/Schwank upset Lopez/Verdasco.
On Friday, Nadal blew out Juan Monaco in straight sets and then it what was the critical match, Ferrer outlasted Del Potro in five.
“In the fourth set, Rafa was really controlling the game, and I knew that it was possibly the last set of the tie,” Del Potro said. “The very little energy I had, I had to put it in the court with the help of the crowd, with the help of my team. And with my concentration, I could give the last bit of energy I had. If I did a good match, despite of losing, I felt that once again I was very close to winning.
“I am also I am not feeling as I would like to feel, but with time, I will have it as a good memory despite the defeat,” he said.
Spain has now won the Davis Cup three of the last four years (2008, 2009, 2011) and five times since 2000 (2000, 2004).
Argentina is still seeking it’s first title after now four runner-up finishes.
Nadal, who is 20-1 in Spain’s ties, added that he will forego playing Davis Cup next season to be ready for the August Olympics in London.
“I hope I’m one of them,” Nadal jokes of qualifying for one of the four spots. “If not, I will watch it on television.”
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