OSIJEK, January 30, 2017
Rafael Nadal announced Monday that he will withdraw from the first round Davis Cup tie with Spain against Croatia due to a very tiring Australian Open for the runner-up in Melbourne. Nadal was beaten by Roger Federer in Sunday’s final and will be replaced in Osijek by Feliciano López. The World No. 33 from Toledo will join his compatriots Roberto Bautista-Agut, Pablo Carreno-Busta and Marc López.
“Rafa needs time to recover from his efforts and I’m certain that he will accompany us in the next rounds,” explained Spanish team captain Conchita Martinez, who directed the first practice session on Sunday afternoon.
“Many thanks to Feliciano for his immediate willingness to travel, demonstrating once again his enormous commitment to the team, of which he is a fundamental player. Feliciano is a very experienced player in the Davis Cup and likes to play on this type of surface,”
— Tenis España (@spaintenis) 30. Januar 2017
The top-players of the home squad will also miss the tie. Without the forces of Marin Cilic, Borna Coric, Ivo Karlovic and Ivan Dodig, the names of Franko Skugor, Marin Draganja, Ante Pavic and Nikola Mektic will have to defend the Croatian colours.
“The Spanish team got weakend by maybe 20 to 30 per cent. It is still a very strong team and the big favourite against us,” Croatia’s Davis Cup captain Željko Krajan commented on the absence of Nadal.