No Nadal for 2012 Davis Cup
Seville - Spain's fifth Davis Cup title party in 11 years fell flat when Rafael Nadal revealed he'd skip next year's title defence while brother-in-arms David Ferrer called time on his tournament duties.
World number two Nadal, who battled back from a set down to defeat Juan Martin del Potro and give Spain victory over Argentina in an epic clash on Sunday, insisted that the defence of his Olympic title must be a priority.
Ferrer, who defeated Del Potro in a marathon five-setter on Friday, said that at 29, his five-year tour of Davis Cup duty was virtually over.
The double blow, coupled with captain Albert Costa's uncertainty over his availability and the worrying decline of doubles pairing Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco, left Spain looking seriously under-powered for 2012.
"Next year I will not play. It's an Olympic year. For many years, I have been one of the players that plays the highest number of matches and I don't want to overplay," said Nadal, who racked up a year-leading 82 matches on the ATP Tour in 2011.
"I want a coherent calendar. So, next year, my participation in the Davis Cup is impossible. Then we will think about the future."
Nadal has built up a record of 20 wins in Davis Cup against just one defeat - and that came on his debut as a 17-year-old in 2004.
But he has regularly complained about a jam-packed calendar which this year will afford him just over two weeks rest before he heads for the United Arab Emirates and a lucrative New Year exhibition tournament.
After that, the Australian Open will beckon and the start of his campaign to wrest the world number one spot back from Novak Djokovic.
World number five Ferrer, meanwhile, turns 30 next year and he said it's time to hand Davis Cup responsibilities over to another generation.
"It's going to be very difficult for the four of us to play together again," said Ferrer, who has a record of 18 singles wins against four losses since his debut in 2006.
"This is the end of the party. I have been here for many years and we all look for our own calendar. I'm older. I probably don't have a good physical condition."
Nadal, Ferrer, Lopez and Verdasco are all determined to feature at the Olympics in July and August.
But that could mean Spain face the prospect of having a different team at the Olympics to the one they field in the Davis Cup.
In the absence of Nadal and Ferrer, world number 10 Nicolas Almagro, who has played just five Davis Cup rubbers and didn't feature at all in 2011, would be the first name on the team-sheet.
Lopez, at 20 in the rankings, and Verdasco, the number 24, would also be amongst the favourites for the singles berths when Spain face Kazakhstan in their first round match of the 2012 tournament in February.
Marcel Granollers, Spain's world 27, has never played a Davis Cup singles match.
"We all want to play at the Olympic Games," said Ferrer.
"The Olympics are very important. We want to play in London, and we want to be in good physical condition to represent Spain."
Sunday's win followed titles for Spain in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2009 while Argentina became the first nation to lose four finals.
"Spain -- this is one of the best teams in history," admitted Argentina captain Tito Vazquez.
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