Madrid - Rafael Nadal on Monday pulled out of Spain's Davis
Cup clash with Croatia this weekend as he recovers from his Australian Open exertions.
Nadal, beaten in five sets by Roger Federer in Sunday's
Melbourne final, will be replaced in the World Group first-round tie by
The Spanish tennis federation said its medical staff
preferred that Nadal sat out the trip to Osijek given "the little recovery
time" available to the world number six.
The federation noted that Nadal "had played in a lot of
matches after four months out of action" in January, which at 30 years of
age was harder to recover from than in the past.
Five-time Davis Cup champions Spain are making their return
to the World Group after a two-year absence.
Lopez, the world number 33, joins Roberto Bautista Agut,
Pablo Carreno Busta and Marc Lopez against Croatia, who lost to Argentina in
last year's final.
Nadal reached his 21st Grand Slam final in Melbourne after a
run of beating Alexander Zverev, Gael Monfils, Milos Raonic and then Grigor
Dimitrov in a near five-hour semi-final.
On Sunday, the Spaniard succumbed 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 to
Federer in a classic conclusion to the tournament.