Top-ranked Rafael Nadal has arrived in Madrid to lead Spain in the new-look Davis Cup Finals.
“It’s a new competition and we must be focused,” Nadal said Sunday. “The first thing is to get familiar with it and to know that each match is vital.”
Spain opens against Russia before facing defending champion Croatia in the men’s international team tournament.
The matches will be played on hard courts — not Nadal’s preferred clay — at the “Caja Mágica” (Magic Box) tennis complex.
“We have been put in a tough group and the surface is obviously not our favorite, but I believe that we are all motivated to be as well prepared as possible,” Nadal said.
“Today was my first day of training and I have been told that the team has been training well, so we hope that we are all in good shape and we can compete well.”
Nadal was eliminated in the group stage of the ATP Finals on Friday in London.
The 19-time Grand Slam winner will be joined by Feliciano López, Roberto Bautista Agut, Pablo Carreno Busta, and Marcel Granollers.
Spain have won the Davis Cup five times, but its last title came in 2011.