OUTSTANDING and emotional performance by the Spanish team.

Rafael Nadal was of course Spain’s standout player – producing eight wins out of the eight matches in the new Davis Cup format which has featured 18 teams playing in a week-long event in the Spanish capital, with a round-robin group stage followed by knockout rounds. Under the old system, teams played home and away ties through the year. 

It was however Roberto Bautista Agut’s presence, and victory, that was awe-inspiring.

Just three days after the death of his father Joaquim, Roberto Bautista returned to the court to beats Felix Auger Aliassime 7-6(3), 6-3 to put Spain one rubber away from a 6th Davis Cup title. In an incredible final where he played with poise and fortitude.

The 31-year-old, whose mother died last year, put aside grief to deliver for Spain, and pointed to the sky after claiming victory when Auger-Aliassime went wide on the first of three match points.

In an interview with Eurosport Bautista said that it was a “very special feeling on the court” and that he has gone out to try his best. His best delivered that first point for Spain.

Then it was Rafael Nadal’s turn. Nadal had not lost a Davis Cup singles match since 2004 and it was always going to be a tough task for Shapovalov to send the tie to a deciding doubles rubber.

The first set was dominated by the Spanish left-hander. But the young Canadian showed grit and got himself back into the match to force a second-set tie-break and even saved two match points with blistering back-to-back winners, managing to score a set point of his own, but the 20-year-old finally bowed out when he netted a forehand.

Nadal dropped to the ground before being mobbed by his team-mates. When he finally got to his feet, he held aloft Bautista Agut in a tight embrace as the crowds cheered on.

Spain has won the Davis Cup six times (2000, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2019), and finished as runner-up four times (1965, 1967, 2003, 2012), which makes it historically one of the most powerful countries in the tennis world.


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Written by

Cristina Hodgson

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