Nadal is coming off a disappointing ATP World Tour Finals in London, where he was eliminated in the first round and said he felt less passion for the game.
While Nadal surrendered the No. 1 ranking to Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon, his Davis Cup record has been a perfect since losing in his 2004 debut. That same year he went beat Andy Roddick in singles to help Spain defeat the United States for the title in Seville.
Carlos Moya, Nadal’s teammate on that squad, said the 10-time Grand Slam winner will be tough to beat.
“He’s always valued the Davis Cup and he’s a great leader. He pretty much guarantees two points for the team,” Moya told The Associated Press. “He likes to be surrounded by teammates, in a competition that represents the whole country and the pressure that it brings.”
Spain is playing in its sixth final since its first Davis Cup win in 2000. The Spanish also won in 2004, 2008 and 2009.
Spain beat favored Argentina without Nadal in the 2008 final in Mar del Plata. This year, it’s the Spanish team that is trying to keep from being overconfident heading into the final weekend of the season.
“They gave us up for beaten before the final and we won,” Verdasco said. “Both teams have a chance in the final. You still have to win it.”
“Everything is different this time,” Nalbandian said.