Belgium Sits Rochus, Nadal Opens Against Bemelmans; Can Massu “Damage” Roddick?
by Sean Randall | March 3rd, 2011, 2:23 pm

Belgium has opted to sit veteran Olivier Rochus in favor of the untested Ruben Bemelmans when their tie against Spain begins tomorrow. The 144th-ranked Bemelmans will have the home crown on his side in Charleroi but he’ll take on a healthy and motivated world No. 1 Rafael Nadal.

“I’m [feeling] fine,” said Nadal who hasn’t played since his injury loss (corrected from retirement) to David Ferrer in the Australian Open quarterfinals. “If I was not perfect I would not be here to compete. I’ve been practicing a lot, but have also had time to spend with my friends and family.”

Ferrer will open the tie against Xavier Malisse. Spain won the Davis Cup four times in the last decade and they are eager for a fifth.

“We always try our best,” Nadal said. “We don’t have more motivation now just because we lost in the quarterfinals last year.”

R1: Xavier Malisse (BEL) v David Ferrer (ESP)
R2: Ruben Bemelmans (BEL) v Rafael Nadal (ESP)

R3: Xavier Malisse/Olivier Rochus (BEL) v Feliciano Lopez/Fernando Verdasco (ESP)

R4: Xavier Malisse (BEL) v Rafael Nadal (ESP)
R5: Ruben Bemelmans (BEL) v David Ferrer (ESP)

If Spain wins they could collide with the U.S. on American soil in July. The U.S. and new captain Jim Courier are in Santiago to take on a depleted Chilean squad who is minus their star Fernando Gonzalez.

Andy Roddick and John Isner will lead the way for Team USA against Nicolas Massu and Paul Capdeville. Still, even without Gonzalez, Chilean captain Hans Gildemeister sounds hopeful.

“Nicolas Massu has been practicing the whole week at the same time we play,” Gildemeister said. “I think it’s a good draw for us because Andy Roddick has a lot of pressure to beat Nicolas because he’s ranked No. 8 and has a very good Davis Cup record.

“Nicolas is going to fight and not give any points away and I think the way he has played the last few days, he can do some damage to Andy.”

Said Courier, “I think I’m the right amount of nervous. I have that excited kind of nervous which is what I’d expect to have at the moment. I’m not sure what I’ll exactly feel like tomorrow when we walk out there but it’ll be a different experience. I’ve thought a lot about it.”

Tennis Channel will have coverage of the USA tie. And I’ll have my Davis Cup preview and picks later today.

R1: Nicolas Massu (CHI) v Andy Roddick (USA)
R2: Paul Capdeville (CHI) v John Isner (USA)

R3: Jorge Aguilar/Nicolas Massu (CHI) v Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan (USA)

R4: Paul Capdeville (CHI) v Andy Roddick (USA)
R5: Nicolas Massu (CHI) v John Isner (USA)

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20 Comments for Belgium Sits Rochus, Nadal Opens Against Bemelmans; Can Massu “Damage” Roddick?

Christina Says:

As far as I can remember Rafa didn’t retire at the Australian open. He played 3 ful sets despite his injured leg.

Swiss Maestro Says:

I think they should just scrap Davis Cup and have a league like EPL. There is nothing heroical about a top 10 guy winning 2 best of 5 set matches – one on friday, the other on sunday.

I do appreciate players like juicy lube, who beat agassi on friday, teamed with ancic to beat bryan brothers on saturday and then beat roddick on sunday. Other than that, davis cup tennis is mediocre quality.

When was the last time federer lost singles in davis cup? nadal? federer will skip a tie in spain on clay, nadal will skip a tie in USA on fast hardcourts. and djokovic? well he will retire in matches. equal opportunity baby. 3slams and a davis cup – all retired. only USopen left were a career retirement slam. LOL

scineram Says:

“his injury loss”

That’s what he said!

Where is Christophe Rochus?

scineram Says:

WTF cares about top 10, Federer, Nadal, Maestro?

Swiss Maestro Says:

Everyone and your mommy, Scineram. That’s who. Clowns like Troicki, youzhny, or the french players or f-lopez or verdasco or ferrer or almagro or blake or fish can become Davis Cup Champions piggy-backing on other talented individuals. How many matches have these guys won against Federer or Nadal?

If you randomly pick a GS champion and pick a davis cup champion and make them play a match, the GS champions will win the match 90% of the time.

Davis Cup is about celebrating mediocrity. In this increasingly global world, concepts encouraging jingoism and nationalism seem outdated to me. I would rather watch Ronaldo play for Real Madrid than play with his joke of a national team just because he has to satisfy the fancies of some nationalists.

Quality over jingoism/nationalism.

Lulu Iberica Says:

Maestro, I detect some serious sour grapes on your part. Djoko is not seeming like a “baby” lately, huh? Furthermore, how are you gonna bash on players like Youz and Ferru, who are hard working, dedicated, great tennis players, and say nobody cares about them? No one thinks a DC title is equivalent to a slam, but I wouldn’t say the tennis is mediocre. I don’t watch much DC because I don’t have Tennis Channel, but last year I caught a match between Monfils and Ferrer that was as exciting as heck, incredible athleticism on display. As for nationalism, as a US citizen, I do tend to cheer for the US team, but when we play Spain, national pride takes a backseat to my overwhelming fan girl love for the King of Clay!

Anna Says:

Me too Lulu.

jane Says:

I like DC tennis. I’ve seen plenty of good DC matches, and it’s fun to see some of the guys in the top 20-30s, even the teens, get to shine in those circumstances. Those final rubbers can be totally exciting if they are down to the wire, and it’s nice to see the team rally around each other; it often looks like it’s quite fun for the players, in a different way than playing just for themselves is. I think Roddick, Rafa and Djoko all really value their DC titles as well, judging by the way all of them reacted when they won one.

dari Says:

Maestro- why would call those players “clowns”? Just because theyre not the top 5 or so? You are showing no respect for the sport, man.
I had to warm up to dc at first, but ive seen some great tennis and the emotion is unmatched. Don’t be a haters, maestro, just don’t watch if you don’t like!

skeezerweezer Says:

DC has its place. I was fortunate to attend a DC weekend a few years back. Was some of the most hard fought tennis I ever saw. Playing for your country is just being proud where you’re from, should be nothing else, but sometimes it is :(

It’s obvious that for some of the top players there personal accomplishments are more, well…personal. After all, this is not a team sport. But for others, as tennis players, there is no other venue that provides a team effort. Historically, some of the best tennis matches have been in DC.

Rafa came of age when he beat Roddick at only 18 years and six months, he became the youngest player to register a singles victory in a Davis Cup final for a winning nation.[21] By beating world No. 2 Andy Roddick, he helped Spain clinch the 2004 title over the United States in a 3–2 win

This crowd was into it, turn up the volume!

Swiss Maestro Says:

Ok lulu, you got me with that sour grapes. You must be Freud’s sister. Now let me tell you about your obsession with mr. picker. I could go on, maybe some other time.

Most of the people who watch davis cup are people who have no idea how to have a fun-time. Ferrer, youzhny, lopez …. how many matches have these guys won against Federer = 0. You can add Verdasco too. I have no respect for any tournament where these guys end up as Champions

a) they dont play superior players like fed/nadal
b) even if they play, they can lose to them and still win.

it is a stupid format designed for mediocre players who are incapable of winning majors, to have their 5minutes in the limelight. the IQ of people who enjoy DC must be on-par with people who watch soaps.

I know there are people who watch tournaments like barcelona/bangkok. I am not one of those. My time/dollars are worth much more than that.

enjoy mediocrity guys.

dari Says:

Ouch- inner just lost to capdeville in 5 set Davis cup match against chile :(
I know its clay, but…

contador Says:

SwissMaestro –

okay. that’s your opinion.

wondering what your atp rank is? ; ) or wta. ‘scuse me.

superior IQ (apparently) has nothing to do with having respect or appreciation for how hard it is to be in the top 100 or 200 or…. also try telling a lithuanian, latvian, estonian tennis fan your opinion about davis cup face to face… could get hurt!

thanks for the link, skeezer. pre pirate pants, pre sick biceps. he’s a phenom. and must have taken many by surprise in those days. i sure liked rafa back then. he hadn’t started beating federer yet. or did he? miami 2005 i was thinking. anyway.

i’ll be in the desert 7-12th. but the latvian flag? waving in my mind :/ gulbis disappoints. maybe an argentine flag.

how about a message for you at the marriot? :D i vote hookin up!

jane Says:

Cool that you are going contador. Tell us which flag you decide to wave so we can spot you in the streaming!

Kimmi Says:

canadian flag should do contador. meelosh 2nd master series tournament, apart from rogers cup ofcourse. go meelosh!

watching menterrey WTA. missing some live tennis..JJ vs sevastova

dari Says:

sean randall is not the only one who mistakenly wrote that rafa retired at the AO this year. directly from the ATP website after spain’s first round matches in davis cup:
“Playing his first match in more than five weeks, World No. 1 Rafael Nadal returned to action victorious as he defeated Ruben Bemelmans 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 to give Spain a 2-0 lead over Belgium in the Davis Cup first round on Friday in Charleroi.

The 24-year-old Nadal has recovered from the left thigh injury that caused him to retire in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open and improved to a 15-1 Davis Cup singles record as he broke serve five times from 11 opportunities to beat the No. 144-ranked Bemelmans in one hour and 54 minutes.”

wonder why everyone has it in their minds that he retired? 2009 AO on the brain? or the devastation was so bad it felt like retirement?

Kimmi Says:

dari – i think the latter. the guy was going for a rafa slam..people still dont believe his straight set loss to ferrer….ferrer who has not beaten rafa since no one could remember.

retirement sounds just perfect!

Lulu Iberica Says:

Wow, what is your problem, Maestro? To be honest, I don’t watch much tennis other than Masters tournaments and slams, simply because I don’t have time and I don’t want to pay for Tennis Channel. In my view, that makes me a “lightweight” kind of fan, and I respect those who watch much more tennis and know more about the game. I consider those people to be more dedicated fans of the sport than myself. The way you talk, tennis begins and ends with Roger Federer, and any player who has never beaten him is worthless. I have no problem giving Fed his due, but there are other excellent players to admire. As for psychoanalyzing my love for “mr. picker,” as you so eloquently describe Rafa, it’s simple:

1. I am a wimp, and he is a bad azz mofo, at least on the court.
2. I like people who show some type of vulnerability, rather than seeming overly sure of themselves. Despite being incredibly successful and generally tough, Rafa has this boyishness and shyness that I find attractive.
3. I am a heterosexual female with a healthy libido and a love of well-developed glutes, expressive brown eyes, and big bright smiles!

Finally, I find it strange that although your “time/dollars” are worth so much, you choose to waste precious moments engaging with us low-IQ Davis Cup fans!

skeezerweezer Says:

4 types of tennis fans

1. Likes the players game, then the man
2. Likes players personality, looks, then the game.
3. Likes both
4. Doesn’t really like anybody, just posts on tennis x to drive everyone crazy.

dari Says:

In my opinion, roger only started to be truly handsome around say…2006 or so. Somehow, I managed to like him a couple year before then, so I guess it must have been his tennis up until that point ;) Now, I don’t have to make a choice about what I like about my fave player. I can have it all. And really that’s probably the case for most fans. the men of the ATP are exceptionally good looking right now, in every rankings level. And the top 10, at least half of them could have had modeling careers and add another to that list if you sent them to the orthodontist.
Add that to the increasing level of play, of course, and its a great time to be a tennis fan!
Speaking of- it was warm enough on the east coast today to play outside! Was heading for the indoors and realized how nice it was, I changed clothes and played outside. Might have been a touch premature, but even with the wind it was worth it!
Lulu- masters and slams worked for me just fine until I got the tennis channel. Dont get it, you’ll never be the same again.

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