Spain plays, between today and tomorrow, as a clear favorite an old-fashioned Davis Cup tie with the memory of Manolo Santana very present, since the confrontation to five matches (four singles and one doubles) against Romania is played in Marbella. In the town of Malaga he lived during his last years and died last December one of the tennis pioneers of the Navy, who is still listed as the Spanish player with the most qualifiers (46) and total wins (92).
Roberto Bautista, number one of the national team, will be the protagonist in the opening of the first day (from 12:00, #Vamos) at the Puente Romano Tennis Club. The 33-year-old from Castellón and 15th in the world will face the two Romanian, Gabi Adrian Boitau, 22 years old and 716th. “The weeks of training in Davis are very good. I’m happy to be with my teammates to pick up the pace. And happy to be the one to start and play again in Marbella”, said Roberto.
Next, Carlos Alcarazgreat claim of the tie in the absence of Rafa Nadal, who is already preparing to play in Indian Wells, will debut with the National Team against one rival, Marius Copil (31st and 259th)the only professional along with doubles player Horia Tecau (19th in the pairs ranking), who was retired and returns to lend a hand to his compatriots. “I am super happy to be able to debut, to represent my country, something that was a dream for me and I can finally achieve it”said the 18-year-old from Murcia, champion of the Junior Davis Cup in 2018.
Tomorrow, Alejandro Davidovich, the other Spanish debutant, and Pedro Martínez are the ones assigned, in principle, to play the doubles match at 11:00 against Nicolae Frunza (619th) and Tecau. “I’m excited to be able to make my debut with Pedro. And that it’s at home is a plus for me. It will surely go well,” said the man from Malaga. Later, Bautista will meet Copil and Alcaraz with Boitán, if the fifth match is necessary (it would not be mandatory to play it after a hypothetical 3-0).
Pablo Carreno and Stefan Palosi they are the players who are left without competing, although there may be changes from one day to the next. “The difficulty was choosing which player to leave out. Any choice would have seemed correct to me because it was easy to choose”, argued Sergi Bruguera, captain of Spain, who spoke about the tribute that will be paid to Santana today, on the track that bears his name: “It is more deserved than anything that can be done to anyone, because he was the pioneer who put Spanish tennis where it is. Any tribute that is paid to him falls short, but I am very happy to be in Marbella and to be able to participate in it”.
AS spoke yesterday with Pedro Martínez, who was already summoned last November by Bruguera to replace Carlos Alcaraz’s loss (positive for COVID just before the 2021 Finals), although he did not make his debut. The Valencian, born in Alzira 24 years ago, has just won his first ATP title in Santiago de Chile, a success that placed him in position 50 in the ranking, the highest of his career.
“For me, being with the team in Madrid was already a great satisfaction. If I were from another country, there would be no doubts about calling me up, but in Spain we have the luck and at the same time the misfortune for the players that it is very difficult to enter on the list”says Pedro, who confesses that he loves Davis. “I’ve always liked it, since I was little when I used to travel with my parents to see qualifying rounds like Benidorm and Las Ventas. Being in Marbella, even if it’s due to the absence of Marcel (Granollers, injured), is very positive for me. If I make my debut as it is planned, it will be something very beautiful”, explains the last champion of the Navy in a magnificent start to the season that can be endorsed this weekend in Andalusia.
Schedules and matches of the Spain-Romania Davis Cup