Nadal Beats Del Potro Giving Spain Its Fifth Davis Cup Title
by Staff | December 4th, 2011, 4:48 pm

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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31 Comments for Nadal Beats Del Potro Giving Spain Its Fifth Davis Cup Title

Anna Says:

What a nail biter for Nadal fans. I’m glad he got to win one more time at home for Spain. Lots of highs and lows this year for Rafa, but this was the best way to end the season. Happy Holidays everybody!

jamie Says:

Next year will be awesome. Four different slam winners, first time since 2003. :lickslips:

2012 winners:

FO: Arse-picker
Wimbledon: Playstation Addict
USO: Tandil Tower

Olympics: Swiss Miss

Michael Says:

Congratulations to Rafa and the Spanish Team for this splendid victory. Rafa played like the “King of Clay” and outlasted Del Potro who showed flashes of brilliance but couldn’t sustain it. You need a Djokovic to rally with Nadal and beat him in his own game. Not everybody can do that. Del Potro played a superb first set but then sprayed the ball to all corners for Rafa to take advantage of that and execute his strategy. All in all, Rafa had a good piece of news in a rather disappointing year for him judging by his standards.

van orten Says:

he was very tired at the end of WTF but oh lord how did he run yesterday..???? incredible and the excuse the season is too long and nadal is tired is being sent right now to the land of fairy tales..
djoker won on clay vs nadal because he didnt have to shorten the points any longer he oultasted nadal on long rallies and executed perfectly..the what was missing with delpo yesterday on a few points here and tough to beat nadal on clay so tough…

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Congrats to Rafa, Ferrer and Armadillos.
I may be wearing rose coloured glasses, but I still look at these DelPo losses as proof that he will win another SLam rather than evidence he can’t hang with the top five.
Brando- saw your reply on the other thread. I get where you’re coming from but I respectfully disagree. We shall see in 2012, but I still guess Nole can beat Rafa on clay.

It will be so interesting to see two grass court majors next year in close succession!

Adam Says:

Personally I dont see any excuse for delpo’s claim of being tired. He had a ton of time off before the davis cup final to rest and get fit. As tough as his matches may have been, they weren’t that long and its only two matches. Nadal and Ferrer had plenty of excuse to be tired going into this match, but for delpo this just sounds pathetic. He is going to have to find a way to get himself fit and healthier if he wants any shot at getting back to the top. I like delpo, but this is just disappointing.

Wheeler Says:

Davis Cup shows the flaws in the ATP system. Whichever country has more top 20 players usually wins the most number of times. You are just lucky if you happen to belong to one, like currently there’s Spain. Davis Cup is the most stupid team competition I have ever seen. Nadal is smart to not play next year and Djokovic should do the same. Davis Cup is good for losers who never usually win a big individual tennis tournament.

carlo Says:

Del Potro injured something in Valencia (I forget what body part). He may not have had the time to prepare well enough. But he made it to the final in Vienna.

And, I’d go easy on him since he climbed the ranks from 400+ in February 2011 all the way to #11 at year end. He passed a lot of players on his way up who would love to have his ability, I’d say. He won Del Ray v Tipsarevic and Estoril v I think, Verdasco; and he had some good results at a few Masters 1000, though he ran into tough opponents at the Slams. But his seeding will be better in 2012. I’m optimistic.

Vamos Delpo!

alison hodge Says:

i think its an incredible achievement for jmdp to get back to 11 in the world rankings,but sorry to say to people ive an angel on one shoulder saying one thing,and a devil on the other saying another thing,and i dont know which one to listen too,angel says he has the big game to hurt nole,fed,muzza,rafa and the most likely to crash the fab 4 party,hes won a slam,but devil says hes prone to injuries,he gets very breathless even in best of 3 set matches,its been over 2 years now since he won the uso,his uso slam was a bit of a fluke as roger lost that final rather than jmdp winning it,his fitness levels,loosing to guys like blake who no disrespect to blake i would expect him to trounce,and 2 years is 2 years,things move on quickly,and it gets harder every year not easier,not to sound like a hater or a pessimist,which i am not,but its tricky i just hope angel wins over devil.

Anna Says:

Alison – I have concerns over Juan’s fitness too, not because he doesn’t train properly though. He actually didn’t play Valencia or Bercy just so he’d be fresh for DC. I think his big body is just depleted after 2-3 really tough sets. Big guys just don’t seem to be able to conserve energy like smaller guys. They may have an advantage in the short term, but definitely not the long term. I’m trying to think of a really tall multiple slam winner, and nobody comes to mind.

carlos Says:


Del Potro played Valencia. He got to the semifinal but had a Mto for something I can’t remember and Granollers won. Whatever it was, was why he didn’t play Bercy and was hoping to be good for Davis Cup. He had time to rehab but he did play Vienna the week before Valencia and lost a hard 3 set Final there to Tsonga. But it wouldn’t surprise me if his fitness wasn’t at the level to keep up with Nadal.

He might be the tallest slam winner? ever? And I’m with Tennis Vagabond – I think there is some reason to hope he can win another slam. He hasn’t reached the fitness prior to his 2009 wrist issue but – Vamos, big guy!

Kimberly Says:

he was never that fit, i remember watching him play murray in the final of Montreal in 2009 and fitness was an issue, the third set was not even competitive he couldn’t hang with murray. Unless he blasts Rafa, Murray, Ferrer, Djokovic off the court (as he did to Rafa in 2009) it is my opinion that he will continue to struggle on slower surfaces against stronger defensive players that can elongate points. He was quite successful against Soderling this year, another player who likes short points.

carlo Says:

And Federer is in the hunt for no. 1 and he says he wants get into the conversation. I’ll eat my hat if he reaches no. 1 again!

carlo Says:

Del Potro’s lung capacity, endurance – that part of his fitness might be a bit of a mystery during the US open seried 2009. At US Open he seemed to be fine in the Final.

Keeping up with Nadal and Ferrer requires a marathoners fitness level, plus, all body parts working at full strength. Ah, didn’t Nadal have some injury US Open 2009? If not as fit as Nadal, one needs a little luck, too – Delpo had just enough.

alison hodge Says:

carlo rafa missed a chunk of the season in 2009,due to tendoitis he missed wimbledon,and to his credit still managed to get to the semis of the uso,before loosing to eventual champ jmdp,a brilliant achievement in itself considering he had only been back playing a couple of weeks,he also did it playing with an abdominal tear,who knows maybe a fitter rafa would have bagged the uso that year too,still its all ifs and buts,i also think he(jmdp) got lucky against fed in the final,with feds level dropping when cruising,imo fed should never have lost that match.

alison hodge Says:

sorry jmo but as much as i like the guy,i just dont see him been a multi slam winner or a player that dominates the way that fed,rafa or nole have done,i see possibly another slam maybe two at best,i could be wrong and believe you me nothing would give me greater pleasure than to admit that,but i feel jmdp has had his chance and its now gone,the jurys still out for me sorry folks.

Brando Says:

@Alison: hi, I do somewhat agree with you re JMDP. I don’t think he can dominate a season for example like federer, nadal and djokovic have done not because his isn’t good enough it’s just his fitness will not allow such a thing to occur. BUT I think JMDP can win another 3 slams in his career. His got the game, the mentality and he’s already climbed the mountain once. If not mistaken he beat rafa and roger in consecutive days- that’s testament enough that physically he can handle it at the later end of a GS. Another benefit is, the biggest one too, is his age. He’s 7 years federer’s junior, 2 to rafa and a year plus on nole/ andy. And considering how young he is relatively speaking on the tour in comparison to them and how their game, except for roger, is more physically demanding it makes me think he’s got a very good chance to pull it off.

Brando Says:

One final thing I’ll add is that on ANY given day if JMDP is at his best, then I do not think any of the top 4 can do anything about it. He’s got a brilliant serve, monstrous FH, a very consistent BH, great reach, more power than any of the other 4. He’s got the goods has JMDP, he just needs the fitness and I expect him to be ready for a GS challenge by FO 12- he should hopefully be in the top 8 by then.

carlo Says:

That’s right, alison, it was Nadal’s abdominal tear US Open 2009.

Del Potro wasn’t too tired when winning US Open 2009 in 5 sets. He had no problem facing down two Titans of the game back to back. I missed the DC matches. But he must not be fit like he was US Open 2009 – certainly the desire was there. He’s got a champion’s mentality – or he (had) that mentality. Hope he puts it all together.

El Flaco Says:

Don’t forget the Delpo was very close to losing that match against Federer. Fed was up 1-0 on sets and serving for the 2nd set at 5-4, 30-0 then proceeded to get broken and lose the 2nd set. In the 4th set he was 2 points from the match when Delpo was serving. Fed’s style doesn’t wear you out physically so if you have decent fitness playing a 5th set against him isn’t a problem. Tsonga was fresh in the 5th against Fed at Wimby. If it was a 5th against Nadal, Tsonga’s legs would have been heavy and he would have made too many mistakes with poor foot work.

Against Nadal you need incredible stamina to beat him in a 5th set. Even though he will do more running than you it still requires you to play long points because of his grinding style. Nadal has the all time best 5th set record. He only lost a 5th set 3 times in his career and 2 of them are to Fed. It seems odd that Fed has a winning record in the 5th set against Nadal(2-1) who is the best ever in the 5th set, but against everyone else Fed is average. I’m not sure who the other player is that Nadal lost a 5th set to, maybe it happened at one of the slams in 2004.

Anna Says:

Yep, Rafa had an abdominal tear at USO 2009 and Juan Martin took him down hard and fast. Rafa was practically serving underhanded, so there was really no competition there. I don’t know how it went with Fed, but I do know that he’s constantly set out certain tournaments to be ready for others. We’ll see. Rafa seems to think he’ll break into the big four next year. He didn’t say who he thinks might be exiting that illustrious foursome, but I’m hoping it’s not him. I really like the big teddybear (Delpo) so I hope Rafa’s prediction is right.

Kimberly Says:

El flaco, can’t imagine roger has a winning record against rafa in fifth sets I can think of two he one and three he lost. Fed won Miami 2005 and wimbledon 2007, nadal won wimbledon 2008, Australia 2009 and Rome 2006. Maybe in montecarlo theyoght have played a fifth another time which rafa won before they changed the format of the masters.

carlo Says:

El Flaco – I can’t resist a tennis trivia question.

Other player was Lleyton Hewitt 2005 AO, but I don’t remember which round. Federer beat Nadal of course Wimbledon Final 2007; and at Miami masters 2005. Fedal H2H is memorized.

2005 was a great AO – I miss Marat Safin!

jane Says:

Fed won Wimbledon 2006 too I believe. And didn’t one of their FO finals go to a fifth, or maybe not.

jane Says:

^ doh forget it. I was thinking of five set matches not 5th sets…

Kimberly Says:

Ironically Jane, the only person to ever take rafa to five at RG is John isner (Soderling beat him I four)

El Flaco Says:

Good catch Kimberly. How could I forget about Rome. So Fed and Rafa are 2-2 when they play a 5th set.

El Flaco Says:

Actually. It’s 3-2 Rafa when they play a 5th set

09 Australia W
08 wimby W
07 Wimby L
06 Rome W
05 Miami L

Am I missing anymore

Humble Rafa Says:

Ironically Jane, the only person to ever take rafa to five at RG is John isner (Soderling beat him I four)

When Isner is on the other side of the net, it is no longer considered tennis. You can ignore that from you stats. Thanks.

Humble Rafa Says:

Yep, Rafa had an abdominal tear at USO 2009 and Juan Martin took him down hard and fast. Rafa was practically serving underhanded, so there was really no competition there

You really understand why I lose. Repeat after me, a fit Rafa never loses.

Wog boy Says:

It is official , NOLE is playing four ATP tournaments in first three months: AO , Dubai, IW , Miami.
I think it is wise considering what is on plate until USO 2012.

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