Rafael Nadal fans, who thronged the RK Khanna Tennis stadium on Friday to catch the tennis star in action in the India vs Spain Davis Cup tie will return disappointed. The Spanish World No 4 has pulled out of his match against Ramkumar Ramanathan due to an upset stomach.
There were long, snaking queues around the tennis stadium as spectators pushed their way in to watch the former World No. 1 open the tie for Spain. Instead, they will see Feliciano Lopez, world No 26, who was earlier slated to be part of the Spanish doubles pair for the tie, play Ramanathan in the opening match.
The second singles match of the tie will be played between Saketh Myneni and world No 13 David Ferrer, according to the draw that was announced by the International Tennis Federation on Thursday.
Earlier in the week, Nadal had stressed on how serious he was about playing for Spain in Davis Cup matches. “Injuries are always tough. It’s difficult to comeback but I think I did well. I had a good Olympics and then I competed well at the US Open. Here we are excited about the tie, we are motivated to reach the World Group and that remains the only goal,” he said.
The statement should give some hope for the disappointed fans.
As per the draw, the Indian pair of Leander Paes and Myneni is set to face French Open champions Feliciano and Marc Lopez. Marc had won the doubles gold medal with Nadal at the Rio Olympics. It remains to be seen if Nadal would replace Feliciano in the doubles match for Spain.
If Nadal skips the doubles rubber, the hope would be that the will be fit enough to play in the reverse singles matches on Sunday.