Recent US Open champion Rafael Nadal delivered a masterful performance this weekend, winning all of his matches, five singles and three doubles, to lead Spain past Canada for the Davis Cup title in the tournament’s new format in Madrid.
Nadal sealed the win for his country with a 6-3, 7-6(7) win over Denis Shapovalov in the final match as Spain won its sixth Davis Cup.
The 19-time major winner was quick to give credit to his teammates though.
“I’ve won the eight matches but the person who was vital in this Davis Cup was Roberto,” said Nadal, referring to Roberto Bautista-Agut who, just a couple of days after his father passed away, gave Spain the early edge with a straight-sets win over Felix Auger-Aliassime. “For me, what he did was something almost super human. I don’t know how to explain it. It will be an example for the rest of my life. He had to leave, then his dad died, then he came back and practiced with us yesterday, and today he was ready again to play at a very high level. It was something incredible.”
“I had the opportunity to play today because all the team and all the players did an unbelievable effort since the first day,” Bautista-Agut added.
The week of tennis in Madrid completed the first year of the new format for the Davis Cup, which saw 18 countries compete in the same venue over the course of the week. What began with round-robin matches funneled into knockout rounds, with Spain and Canada coming through to compete in the championship.
Spain’s previous Davis Cup titles came in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2011. The tournament returns to Madrid next year.