The great Rafael Nadal acknowledged that doubles had never been a strong point of Spain, the five-time champion Davis Cup team, and was happy to pull out a “tough match” against the doughty Indians to enter the World Group.
Nadal has repeatedly asserted their determination to enter the World Group, a place where they feel they truly belonged. Spain, who had dropped out of the World Group two years ago, accomplished that on Saturday night when Nadal and Marc Lopez overcame Leander Paes and Saketh Myneni in an enthralling 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-4 win in the doubles.
"In Davis Cup doubles there is always a lot of ups and downs and it was a typical doubles match. It was a great victory. It was important for us to win doubles because in the history of Spanish team it has been difficult to win doubles,” Nadal confessed.
The 14-time Grand Slam champion was generous in his praise of Paes. "He (Leander) played a great match. It was so amazing tonight, it is a pleasure to play him here in his country. He is one of the biggest stars of doubles and one of the best players in the history of the sport,” said Nadal.
"It was great to compete against him, it was a tough match. They played well but we are happy to have the victory and come back to the World Group, that's where we think we have to be with so many of our players being in the top 100.”
Nadal was also quick to clarify that it was the stomach bug that kept him away from playing the opening singles on Friday. "It was not the wrist. Everybody knows my situation, I have always been honest about it. My wrist is improving but it still bothers me a little bit. But I am happy with the progress. There is a lot of humidity here and after practice I had lunch at hotel and I felt I was not feeling perfect to go on court. Feli (Feliciano Lopez) was in perfect condition to go to court so he played,” said Nadal, adding that he loved playing in India and would be returning to play in International Premier Tennis League.
On the personal front Nadal said: “I want to try to qualify for the World Tour Finals.”
Lopez, who had won Rio Olympic gold medal in men’s doubles with Nadal, felt the key to their success was the trust and friendship between them. “Serve is a tough part for me. Rafa helped a lot at net. The nerves made it difficult for me but overall I leave with very good feeling of the match, he said.