Madrid - Spain have picked world number two Rafa Nadal in their team to face France in this month's Davis Cup semi-final as they bid for a third title in four years, captain Albert Costa said on Tuesday.
The 25-year-old former number one, who was absent for last year's 5-0 quarter-final loss to the French, will join regulars David Ferrer, Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez for the September 16-18 tie in Cordoba, Costa told a news conference.
As hosts, Spain have chosen to play the tie on their favoured red dust and with clay king Nadal on board Costa's team will be firm favourites to advance to December's final, where they would meet champions Serbia or Argentina.
Nadal has missed several Davis Cup ties through injury in recent years and the defending US Open champion had a scare on Sunday when he collapsed during his post-match news conference because of severe cramping in his right leg.
He had just beaten David Nalbandian on a hot and humid afternoon at Flushing Meadows.
Spain and France have played each other seven times in the Davis Cup, with the Spaniards having won five of those encounters.