The Davis Cup final between the Czech Republic and Spain has not even begun yet in Prague and already Tomas Berdych has fired the first shot. The Czech No. 1 called Spain’s No. 2, Nicolas Almagro, the weakest link on their team.
“I played faced Almagro many times this year and won most of them,” Berdych said according to tennis.com. “If he’s nominated, he will be the weak point on which we can build our victory. He’s missing that little something that distinguishes great players [from the rest]. He’s won smaller tournaments won this year. But he always has a chance if he plays.”
Almagro was nominated and will play Berdych tomorrow in the second rubber. Berdych has won eight of 11 meetings with Almagro and four of five this year including a contentious victory at the Australian Open where the Czech would not shake Almagro’s hand after the match because of apparent head-hunting.
The tie will open with David Ferrer against Radek Stepanek. Ferrer leads 6-3 in that series including a 0-2 comeback win in the second rubber of the 2009 final.
If the tie isn’t already decided, either Berdych or Ferrer will have the opportunity to clinch the title on Sunday in the fourth rubber.
“For us the most important thing is to have three points on Sunday – that’s why we’re here,” Stepanek said. “The final in Barcelona was a great experience that we can learn from and use that experience in front of our home crowd. The most important is the three points and that’s what we’re focusing on.”
Spain blanked the Czechs 5-0 in the 2009 Davis Cup final.
“The final in Barcelona we were in completely a different position and all that was against us is now going to be on our side,” said Berdych. “It’s still on us players to go there and fight for the three points. We will do everything we possibly can to get those three points.”
The Czechs won their lone Davis title in 1980 behind Ivan Lendl’s three wins. Five-time champions Spain have won the title three of the past four years, though they will be without their anchor Rafael Nadal who remains sidelined with a knee injury. Interestingly, Nadal’s opponent in his last match, Lukas Rosol, will be playing doubles for the Czechs.
The Czech women just claimed the Fed Cup two weeks earlier in the same O2 Arena in Prague.
DAVIS CUP SCHEDULE OF PLAY
R1: Radek Stepanek (CZE) v David Ferrer (ESP)
R2: Tomas Berdych (CZE) v Nicolas Almagro (ESP)
R3: Ivo Minar / Lukas Rosol (CZE) v Marcel Granollers / Marc Lopez (ESP)
R4: Tomas Berdych (CZE) v David Ferrer (ESP)
R5: Radek Stepanek (CZE) v Nicolas Almagro (ESP)
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