New Delhi: The crowd had come to see the 14-time Grand Slam winner play in front of their eyes at the RK Khanna Stadium, here on Friday. However, they were in for a disappointment as they got to know that Rafael Nadal won’t be playing the opening singles of the Davis Cup World Play Off tie against India because of ‘stomach upset’.
Instead, Feliciano Lopez took on to the court to play against Ramkumar Ramanthan and the World No. 26, too, didn’t have much difficulty in overpowering the Indian as he beat Ramkumar 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 to give Spain a 1-0 lead.
Later, World No. 13 David Ferrer, too, had an easy day against Saketh Myneni as the Spaniard beat the Indian in straight sets 6-1, 6-2, 6-1 to give Spain 2-0 lead over the hosts on Day One.
Speaking at the press conference after the match, Lopez, however, said that it was the wrist injury that kept Nadal out of the court said, “We knew all through the week that I might play the singles instead of Nadal as he wasn’t 100 percent sure about his wrist. Last night it was decided that I will play the match. He was struggling with his wrist for the last couple of weeks. He played through the pain at the US Open and so he didn’t want to aggravate it further,” said Lopez.
“There are still two more days to go in the tie and there is a very good chance of Nadal to play the doubles rubber against Leander Paes and Saketh Myneni. However, the final decision will be taken tomorrow itself,” said Lopez.
Meanwhile, Conchita Martinez stuck to the ‘stomach ache’ theory for Nadal’s absence, saying that he finished his practice in the morning and complained of a little stomach ache. “After lunch he felt a little worse. You can’t risk it under this weather and circumstances,” Conchita said, adding that Nadal’s wrist is progressing well.
“He had been practicing all week. The wrist is progressing well. We can’t do much when a player has stomach problems,” she said.
The Spanish captain said that she would be having a word with Rafa and see how he was doing. “Whether he will play or not depends on how he is recovering,” she said.
Talking about his absolute dominance over Saketh Myneni, Ferrer said that it was not easy out there as the conditions were tough. “Saketh played well and has the potential of moving up the ladder. I change my game according to the situation. I get that extra motivation while playing for my country. I loved playing those shots today,” he said, adding, “We have already won two games and I will play the reverse singles on Sunday.”
Saketh, meanwhile, said, “When we are playing against top players we need to play consistently and one little margin of error and you are out of the game.”
Meanwhile, Ramkumar was apologetic about his loss, despite giving a spirited performance. “I am sorry that I could not win this match. I tried my best and have no regrets though. I was playing against world class player. I want to thank the people for their love and support that they showed on me.”