Nadal Opens with Berdych in Davis Cup Final, Verdasco Sits

by Sean Randall | December 3rd, 2009, 3:08 pm

Rafael Nadal will open Spain’s defense of their 2008 Davis Cup title when the finals begin Friday in Barcelona. Nadal’s foe from the Czech Republic will be Tomas Berdych. ADHEREL

“Everybody talk about hard week last week,” Nadal said. “But (it) wasn’t a big surprise. I didn’t arrive with the best confidence… on difficult surface, against the best players of the world. So here I practiced hard and well during all the week. I am happy to be here and be part of this very good team. We practiced all the time… trying our best in every practice. And I think and I hope to be ready for tomorrow.”

Nadal leads the head-to-head 5-3 with four consecutive straight set wins (nine sets total) over the big-hitting birdman the last three years. But I give Berdych a shot to at least steal a set.

Nadal comes into the tie riding a four-match losing skid, his worst since he came into prominence. And even though the match in his backyard and on the clay (indoors), he has to be feeling a little uneasy given his play the last month.

And I think Berdych and rest of the Czech team can play pretty loose knowing few give them a chance this weekend. So Tomas should be hitting bombs and swinging freely.

In the second match Spanish coach Alberto Costa has chosen David Ferrer over Fernando Verdasco to face Radek Stepanek. I know Verdasco also been struggling like Nadal but I think he deserves the spot over Ferrer here. Verdasco’s had a great year – remember he won it for Spain last year! – and even though he zeroed at the WTFs last week he competed well and based on his season and his level of play, I think he should on that court tomorrow, not David.

“Fernando is fit and he has an important role to play in the doubles and possibly Sunday,” Costa said. “But David has prepared really well and he deserves to play.”

But Ferrer should still be able to get the job done against The Worm. And if he does a rested Verdasco and his buddy Feliciano Lopez could clinch it for the Spaniards on Saturday in the doubles against Lukus Dlouhy and Jan Hajek, though watch for Berdych-Stepanek to fill in if needed.

If the tie is still alive – which I think it won’t – the Sunday reverse singles set up with Nadal v. Stepanek followed by Ferrer and Berdych.

The favorite Spaniards have won three Davis Cups, all this decade in 2000, 2004 and 2008. Spain’s also won 19 straight clay ties since a 1999 loss to Brazil, and they’ve won 17 straight at home. The odds don’t look good for team Czech which, led by Ivan Lendl, won their lone DC in 1980.

Matches will be televised live in the US on Tennis Channel at 10am ET. Live online streaming is available via the ITF:

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59 Comments for Nadal Opens with Berdych in Davis Cup Final, Verdasco Sits

Long Live the King Says:

“Nadal leads the head-to-head 3-2 with four consecutive straight set wins (nine sets total) over the big-hitting birdman the last three years. ”

>>>>> Really? 3-2 after winning 4 straight?

eric Says:

yeah weird error – ATP site says it’s 5-3.

Sean Randall Says:

Typo on my part. It’s updated to 5-3 now. Sorry for the confusion.

JoshDragon Says:

I expect Spain will crush the Czech Republic. Nadal, is so tough on clay it will be all Berdych can do to win a set. Even though he hasn’t played that well recently it should be a relatively easy straight sets win for Nadal.

I think it was a mistake for Costa, to not let Verdasco, play in the second position. Yeah, he’s been a little bit off recently but he’s still had great results this year and he’s ranked higher than Ferrer is, not to mention he came through last year against Argentina.

huh Says:

Berdych would be defeated, but I hope at least he puts up some fight, if he really can vs Rafa on clay!

Duro Says:

Hey huh!

devastatingdjokovic Says:

Has anyone read Agassi’s book yet?

Duro Says:

Hey devastating!

Michael gaobest Says:

If Tomas can beat Nadal, he’ll totally raise those Czech hopes! I can’t see how it can be done, but he has been able to beat Nadal before… realistically I can’t see how Spain will lose. At the same time, they’ve done so well in DC this decade (ala RFed) so I wouldn’t mind seeing the Czechs win. Wish that RFed felt encouragement with Davis Cup to actually participate in it – doesn’t he want a DC title with his resume? That (aside from the Olympics Singles Gold Medal) is his only glaring omission, and unlike Olympics, he has every year to do DC.

Agassi’s book is a great read, but I can’t see myself reading it more than once. I already loved him as a player/person, and if anything the book makes him less loveable (and this has nothing to do with the drug part). I’m glad I read it, and wish there was a book of outtakes, because he’s just done so much, and no way could that one book cover his whole life. Just as DVDs have the bonus disc of extra footage, I hope his book gets similar :D Imagine if the book had been released with DVD of interviews and tennis match excerpts… that would have been amazing.


AK-47 Says:

I doubt the Spanish squad will win a rubber. Berd will defeat Rafa on clay, the end of Golden Age of Spanish tennis.
Czechs defeat Spain 4-0.

devastatingdjokovic Says:

I hated Agassi during his last few years on tour. I didn’t care for him much afterward. I’m more of a Sampras fan and Agassi’s so-so net play always bothered me. But this book, just, wow. If I could meet any person in the world, it would be Agassi. I want to meet him, talk to him, shake his hand, be his friend. Andre Agassi is the greatest person in the world. His book is fantastic.

Funny side note, Agassi mentions how different he was from Sampras several times. Even in retirement, even in writing books, you can see how different the 2 are. The rivalry continues, but Agassi definitely wins this one.

jane Says:

DD: Thanks for the review.

Berdych kept it SO close for the first set, but Rafa is gaining confidence. He wins it 7-5 and is now starting to look his best on clay … love-40 first game second set. Rafa is a clay master, no doubt.

devastatingdjokovic Says:

Jane, I can’t review this book. Every single person in the world needs to read it, make their own opinions. There is something here for every single person in the world to relate to, to apply to their lives, to learn, etc.

Berdych should step it up but nice to see Rafa snap an ugly losing streak.

sar Says:

I took out the book from the library 2 weeks ago but didn’t have time to read it so I had to give it back as others were in the queue. I have reordered it and should have it next month or two when I am not under the gun. Meantime I have taken out Hard Courts by Feinstein and have unlimited time to read that.

jane Says:

Well, Nadal hit peak form for the last 2 sets and cruised past Berdych 6-0, 6-2. Once Berdych lost the first set it seemed inevitable. Meanwhile, though, Steps has forged a commanding 5-1 lead over Ferrer in the first set. I wonder why they chose Ferrer over Verdsco? It seems surprising. Anyhow, it will be difficult to beat Spain on clay. Though you gotta admire Steps; he really has been playing awesomely this year – esp at the beginning and the end.

Kai Says:

First point for Spain:

Rafa wins in straights
7-5, 6-0, 6-2

Sean Randall Says:

Fifth set, Ferrer hanging on. Quite a comeback for David.

jane Says:

Yes, a marathon match this one: 6 all in the fifth … you’d think this situation would favor Ferrer since he’s the road-runner and Steps is the older one. But who knows?

Kimmi Says:

Hah Czech blew a chance to tie with spain, now it will be a big mountain to climb..with 0-2 down I cannot see them winning the next remaining matches. nadal seem to have found his mojo again..good for him, he was looking to finish a year on the high..will definetly get it here.

jane Says:

Yep, can’t see the Czechs coming back now; this is Spain’s to take / keep. That has to be a heartbreaker loss for Steps; he was playing really well at the beginning of the match. But Ferrer came back. Great win for him.

puckbandit Says:

For Kimmi and other Fed fans (tennis fans LOL) I posted this in the older Davy/Bryan Bros article for you:

puckbandit Says:
Kimmi, Madmax and other Fed fans,

You may have seen this when it was first published, if not.\,
here’s a link to a great article and interactive breakdown of Feds footwork from the NYT’s.

Be sure to also click on the “related article” link under the headline for the full article. I think you will like it.


Voicemale1 Says:

What’s remarkable is that Nadal won his 400th ATP Tour Match today. It’s an incredible achievement to have racked up that many wins on the tour by age 23.

Kimmi Says:

puckbandit: great article. i saw the video few weeks or probably months back, actually somebody post it here but i never saw the related article. its always nice to read these technical analysis on players, be about movement, stokes and whatnot.. it is fascinating….especially federer, I enjoyed it..they say he is losing a step now, due to age but he is still a powerful force to be reckoned with. . Hope he continue to grace us with his beautiful tennis in years to come.

JoshDragon Says:

Wow, Berdych got crushed today. He played well in the first set but man Rafa steam rolled him after 4-5.

Andrew Miller Says:

Sounds like Spain’s captain takes whoever is best in practice leading up to the tie.

Interesting – Sampras to play Verdasco in exhibition next year. I think Verdasco will crush Sampras. Sorry, but he really should. Says:

So, sitting Verdasco was not such a bad idea after all. You got to hand it to Ferrer for holding it together and coming back from 2 sets down! Go Spain!

madmax Says:


I just wanted to say thanks for posting the link -it was awesome. Not that I needed reminding how fantastic federer’s footwork is, but it was a joy to watch again, the movement when in full swing is a sight to behold!

jane Says:

Congrats to Spain for winning Davis Cup! They have a lot of depth in their team, which really helps. Berdych & Steps were playing doubles again, having both played singles, and they kept the first two sets close, but Verdasco and Lopez were clearly the fresher ones and clinched the win in straight sets. Nice way to end the year for the Spanish team!! Vamos.

Andrew Miller Says:

Tom Berdych – thoughts? This guy has become an afterthought on tour, only relevant when he leads to someone else’s victory. Berdych is, pound for pound, the guy that least lived up to potential. It used to be the tandem of Verdasco and Feli Lopez, but with back to back Davis Cups and Verdasco’s awesome 2009, they dont need to prove anything to anyone.

Berdych on the other hand better get with the program! His time is fading. The single biggest reason that people like Tommy Haas and other surprise semifinalists stay in the game is because they know that, deep down inside, if they play people like Berdych, 9 times out of ten they will win. Apparently, Berdych knows this also.

Andrew Miller Says:

Also got to hand it to Verdasco and Feli Lopez: they dont care if they get the win in doubles or singles – that shows that Spain is really a team.

For all the controversy over Davis Cup in Spain, got to hand it to them. They are a dynasty and they want to keep being one.

Kimo Says:

Spain is just too srong. The Czechs never had a chance.

Looking forward to Switzerland vs. Spain next year. I hope we get to see a Fed-Rafa match. We haven’t seen those two grind it out in a while. Still, even if Fed gets the W, Spain’s depth will most likely prevail.

Fot Says:

Kimo I agree. Anytime a nation has to go against other nations like Spain, the US, France, etc. – the nations that have “separate” double teams – it’s going to be difficult. With the Swiss, their best double team is Roger and Stan, however, they are also their best singles team, so you are going to have the same situation against Spain as the Czech team had. The 2 single players playing the previous day only to have to come back and play doubles while Spain subsitutes fresh double players.

Same thing with people who play the US. The US Single players never have to come back and play doubles because they have the Bryan brothers.

That’s why I don’t understand why some folks are getting on Roger because they ssy “He’s never won a Davis Cup title”. Duh…it takes more than 1 or even 2 people to win a title. Not impossible, but it’s hard, especially if they have to go against a team as deep as Spain. There was no doubt that Nadal wouldn’t have to play doubles. They have the depth. The Swiss team doesn’t. If they put in 2 other players for the double’s team, that team will probably lose. Even if Roger wins his 2 single matches, they still have to rely on someone else to come through as well. People forget Roger use to play DC all the time and the Swiss depended on his 3 points for victory.

Stan can be up and down so you can’t say that’s an automatic point (although he has improved).

If Roger gets a DC title before he retires – fine. If he doesn’t – that’s still fine with me too. People will always remember the 15 grand slams over “oh, but he’s never won DC” and I’ll take that any day! lol!

Kimmi Says:

ah spain, they win so quickly. i am sure nadal would want to play one more match – with stepanek maybe to test his game some more.. after those 4 straight loses. from his interview after winning berdych match, you can tell he was very happy to play the last 2 sets “the way he nornamlly play on clay”

anyways, many congratulations to spain for retaining the title. they are definetly the team to beat.

Kimmi Says:

Madmax, Contador and other fed fans

Have you seen federer 2010 schedule?
I thought I saw one a month ago, it had Abu Dhabi and Doha, I also think Madrid was there too. But his website just releases his 2010 schedule which shows his first tournament in 2010 is AO? No Doha and no Abu Dhabi. Interesting. Its even more interesting to see his lead up to RG is Estoril (which was announced) and Rome only. No Madrid. Now this is what I call “cutting down on schedule”.. he clearly does not care for No. 1..looks like his concentration his mainly in Grand Slams.
Good to see Davis Cup first round – Madrid in his he is planning to play there after all.

devastatingdjokovic Says:

Why would he skip Madrid? Isn’t he superstitious? He wins Madrid before winning his first RG. Why mess with that?

arishuza Says:

RF’s schedule also says that the Toronto tournament is indoor carpet but its a outdoor hardcourt, unless i’m missing something!

madmax Says:


Fed usually does the tune up Kooyong before he plays the AO, but he isnt doing Kooyong this year. But instead he is playing the Abu Dabi “circuit”, with also doha – it’s only murray (so I gather that isnt do it this year, he is entering into a different tourny prior to the tune up to the AO, and the murray fans will know about that).

Will go check his schedule one more time, as I know they are open to change.


Yep. You are right! I read your very “sarcastic” comment on TT and thought you were “BRILLIANT”. You are so correct, its become a cheerleader sight for the rafafans – and I love rafa, but it isnt all about him though you wouldnt guess as much.

I think you should really go for the job of Tennis writer, you would bring a certain “panache” to a site which needs it right now.

madmax Says:

Kimmi, this is fed’s official 2010 schedule:

He is playing madrid – (to whoever said he wasn’t?).

Roger Federer’s 2010 Schedule: (tournament starting dates noted)

December 31: Capitala World Tennis Championship, Abu Dhabi (exhibition)

January 4: Qatar Exxonmobil Open, Doha (ATP 250)

January 18: Australian Open, Melbourne

Feburary 22: Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, Dubai (ATP 500)

March 8: BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells (Masters 1000)

March 22: Sony Ericsson Open, Miami (Masters 1000)

April 26: Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Rome (Masters 1000)

May 3: Estoril Open, Estoril (ATP 250)

May 10: Mutua Madrileña, Madrid (Masters 1000)

May 24: Roland Garros, Paris

June 7: Gerry Weber Open, Halle (ATP 250)

June 21: Wimbledon, London

August 9: Rogers Cup, Toronto (Masters 1000)

August 16: Western & Southern Financial Group Masters, Cincinnati (Masters 1000)

August 30: U.S. Open, New York

October 11: Shanghai ATP Masters 1000, Shanghai (Masters 1000)

November 1: Davidoff Swiss Indoors, Basel (ATP 500)

November 8: BNP Paribas Masters, Paris (Masters 1000)

November 21: Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, London (if qualified)

Federer will be playing the Estoril Open for the first time since 2008, when he won the tournament, and he is skipping the Japan Open in Tokyo. Monte Carlo is also off the calendar (for now.) No word yet on if he’ll play the opening round of Davis Cup vs. Spain in March.

madmax Says:

18 tournaments with all the slams and all the masters seems pretty full to me?

madmax Says:


He ISNT skipping madrid buddy.

huh Says:

Rafa was not playing that bad during the post-Wim period as some think. It was merely that guys like Davy, Soderling etc were on a super-hot streak, that’s why the losses against them in the late 2009. However I’m dead sure Rafa’s gonna cool them down next year by their thrashings (much as I’d hate seeing Sod losing to him)! So it is no surprise to see him performing well again on his fave surface, clay.

Take the case of a special player like Nole and his performance of late vs Rafa. After watching Rafa’s last three matches with Nole , I found that actually Rafa and Nole , neither were at their best. But as Nole can just get too good on hard,i.e. to me, unbeatable against anyone except Fed & DP at their best, that’s why the lopsided losses of Rafa against him. So it wasn’t like Rafa was covering the court at a quarter of his speed and similar stuffs, that’s why the straight set losses against Nole.

Hence I can only conclude that Rafa’s playing at 75-80% of his level, which is good enough to beat even Fed & Nole, playing at their respective 99% best on clay, let alone beating the crap out of Berdys & Mardys etc. So I can accept Berdy’s crushing with lesser amazement than others!

But the thing which I’d love to say here is that I liked the way Ferrer fought and beat Step. It was incredible. Big Kudos to the mental strength and determination of Ferrer. I hope he gets a few big scalps next year with the first one being Rafa! ;)

huh Says:

Thanks to madmax for providing Fed’s 2010 schedule.

huh Says:

What good enough? More than good enough to beat Fed n Nole on clay!

Kimmi Says:

Madmax says: Kimmi, this is fed’s official 2010 schedule:
He is playing madrid – (to whoever said he wasn’t?).”

Nobody “just’ said he is not playing Madrid, his website said this. Did you read the attachment from I posted yesterday @ 6.44 pm? The list omitted, abu dhabi, doha and madrid.

I was surprised too to see this schedule, especially coming from his website, which made me trust it I believe anything from his website is from Roger’s mouth.

So now we know one of those schedules is wrong. The question is which one? 1. schedule from his website or 2. schedule you posted madmax (BTW, where did you find that one?)

PS: The schedule you provided has also omitted davis cup 1st round.

Still confusing..

madmax Says:


roger always leaves his confirmation of davis cup until the last minute, depending on whether he thinks this is going to mess up the rest of tournament, (i.e. is he going to be too tired, etc).

As fedfans, we werent even sure that he was playing this year’s davis cup in October, until about a week before. So this doesnt surprise me.

I’ve had this schedule AS SOON AS IT CAME OUT at beginning of November – i know it is always subject to change – but I dont believe that Roger will pull out of the ones I have posted as my understanding is that he has signed the contracts to play (via his agent). PLUS, he has always played Kooyong, but put out a statement a month ago to say that he would be playing Doha and Abu Dhabi prior to AO, which will stil be great practise for him.

Of course, I accept that he may have changed his mind – but I hope not – as I am looking to go out to UAE at end of December (if I can), to watch him play – if I cant, then it will be another wait, probably wimby – but since reading ‘been there’s’ post when he described federer’s play LIVE, I have been as sick as a pig since, I just wanna see him play so much.

I’ll keep on checking to see what’s going on, my friend.

madmax Says:

I dont know why he isnt playing Kooyong Kimmi, as he has won it for the last 2 or 3 years and won it this year in January but May be he wants to try something different, something fresh before the AO?

I still think this is a big schedule for him next year though and absolutely sure – along with all other fedfans – that the grand slams are the ones he is most interested in. But then again, who isn’t?

I really hope he keeps on going strong, fit and healthy for the next 3 years Kimmi – keep training hard and keep winning those slams.

Have been reading a lot of articles from pompous journos who keep writing ridiculous statements that I am not even going to repeat because it makes me mad – I just admire the guy so much and love watching him play.

madmax Says:

Federer will be playing the Estoril Open for the first time since 2008, when he won the tournament, and he is skipping the Japan Open in Tokyo. Monte Carlo is also off the calendar (for now.)

No word yet on if he’ll play the opening round of Davis Cup vs. Spain in March.

Posted December 6th, 2009 at 5:43 am

madmax Says:


this is from Roger’s facebook – if you havent joined facebook yet as a fan – go do it!

This is my 2010 schedule.

is obviously subject to change.

I hope to see some of you at a stop around the world: Abu Dhabi Exo, Doha, Australian Open, Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami, Rome, Estoril, Madrid, Roland Garros, Halle, Wimbledon, Toronto, Cincinnati, U.S. Open, Shanghai, Basel, Paris and if I qualify, the ATP… World Tour Finals in London. Exact dates for these events can be found at

Hope this helps. xx

Kimmi Says:

“PLUS, he has always played Kooyong, but put out a statement a month ago to say that he would be playing Doha and Abu Dhabi prior to AO, which will stil be great practise for him. ”

madmax, I thought I read this statement months back..that he is playing abu dhabi and doha. I am just surprised that his website would post something like this, ommiting quite a few tournaments. I don’t know. I know that he is talking about cutting down schedule, his is older now, his ongoing back problem, family etc.

Lets see what happens when the time comes, we will see if he is playing abu dhabi/doha or not. And we will probably hear from his interviews early on if he playing Madrid.

But it just makes me wonder, why he would post something wrong in his website.

Kimmi Says:

Madmax: just read your facebook post. (I will go check, I have facebook) OK, now I believe there is something wrong with RF.COM schedule unless he just decided to change his schedule. RF.COM came out few days ago I think and facebook was posted Nov 03.

Lets wait and see what happens. I hope he plays AO tune up, he is always done that and have been big success for him. Thanks madmax

madmax Says:


just on skysports, literally two minutes ago, they just confirmed the next time they are back on for Tennis is 31 December in Abh Dhabi, with Roger Federer playing. Serious.

Kimmi Says:

Madmax, I think the person who post Roger’s schedule in RF.COM must have been dreaming, probably had a long day. LOL! They need to fix it.

madmax Says:


also here is an article from federer which explains his reasona about decision on davis cup -and I’ve also put a link about his schedule as well. cheers. xx

Zurich, Sep 25 (DPA) Roger Federer has a tough decision to make in early 2010 as he debates the merits of fighting to continue his current ATP domination or trying to fill an empty space on his bulging trophy shelf.
Switzerland are drawn away to mighty Spain in the Davis Cup first round. The opening weekend in early March is inconvenient for Federer – coming on clay between ATP hard-court events in two deserts at Dubai and Indian Wells, California.

Federer, 28, knows that time is starting to slip away if he’s to lead Switzerland to the Davis Cup trophy, which would look good in his display case along with his 15 Grand Slam singles titles and Beijing Olympic gold medal in doubles.

“I truly enjoy playing for my country, but I’ll also have to see where I have my priorities for next season,” Federer said. “Of course, there are the Grand Slams, but there is also number one, which is a bit of a dilemma.

“If I want to play Davis Cup all the time, I might have to leave out some Masters 1000 tournaments. Like in the other years, I will see after the Australian Open how I feel and if I play the first round.”

In recent years, the world number one has played in September’s inevitable relegation rounds to keep his nation in the elite World Group after usually avoiding the first-round ties.

He missed the loss to the United States in March in Alabama but saw his country safely through for 2010 as he led the side that beat Italy 3-2 last weekend.

Here’s the link I was talking about:-

Read more:

Kimmi Says:

Madmax says: “I dont know why he isnt playing Kooyong Kimmi, as he has won it for the last 2 or 3 years and won it this year in January but May be he wants to try something different, something fresh before the AO?”

If he is playing Abu dhabi and doha before AO, there is no need to play Kooyong. Koyoong is between doha and AO,its back to back to back rest in between. He played that way last year but its too much IMO.

thanks for that davis cup article, explains a lot and he talking about the importance of No.1 too.

madmax Says:

In addition Kimmi, Roger is actually playing 19 tournaments next year as Estoril counts as number 19, not 18.

sar Says:

Where is Murray playing before AO?

Ezorra Says:

“This was the end to the season I needed,” Nadal said at a news conference after Spain completed a 5-0 whitewash of the Czechs to win the Davis Cup for the fourth time since 2000.

“Winning again is a great feeling and a major achievement, particularly considering the problems I’ve had.

“Being able to enjoy this with my team mates and receive all the support from the crowd has been terrific over the three days.”


Happy to see Nadal’s facial expression during DC. He smiles all the time and looks very positive too. I hope he will bring this next year when he opens his campaign at Doha.

Vamos Rafa!

Sean Randall Says:

Sar, looks like Murray is only schedule for the Hopman Cup.

Please see:

Milos Says:

Does Sean have an e-mail?

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