Rafael Nadal wants to help Spain's start in its next Davis Cup campaign on a positive note in Switzerland, even if Roger Federer is not playing for the hosts.
Nadal, in Shanghai for the Tennis Masters Cup, moved to reassure Spanish supporters he had not turned his back on the Davis Cup team after reports last month suggested he'd skip the opening match. "It is going to be a difficult tie," he said. "We will do our best to win because we lost in the first round of the last two years."
Nadal said Switzerland remained favourite to win the February 9-11, 2006 match in Geneva because of its home court advantage, even without No. 1-ranked Federer on the team.
"Every time you play away it is a lot more difficult than playing at home," he said. "With (Stanislas) Wawrinka, (Marco) Chiudinelli, (Yves) Allegro, and (Michael) Lammer, Switzerland have a good team, even more so at home, with the indoor court and fast court."
No. 2-ranked Nadal has a 6-2 career record against Federer, which would have given a showdown in Geneva more impetus. But in recent years, Federer has kept room for one Davis Cup series per season and has twice missed the first round.