• Chronicle: Nothing closes another excellent season leading Spain to its sixth Salad Bowl
  • Nadal. "What Baptist has done is an example for the rest of my life"
  • Pearls: Nothing like a soldier anymore
  • Spain: The best team of the 21st century: six titles since 2000

Who chases a ball lying inches from the net, a volley touched with the mime of Jamie Murray , accustomed to producing thousands of resolutions of those characteristics? Who rescues it from the chasm to build a balloon to the bottom line and finish off the already shy return with a categorical smash? Who completes the sequence in extreme situation, with set ball against and the Davis Cup final in play? Who generates an intimidating astonishment that paralyzes the adversaries, this time Jamie Murray and Neal Skupsky?

Rafael Nadal has the answer to all questions, the solution to all problems, help in any circumstance. It is not about falling into laudatory excesses, but about verifying reality. Spain is where it is thanks to Nadal , without detracting from the work of the rest of the team. Spain has a player who has not lost in the Davis Cup since he did it with Feliciano López, his accomplice in the new success of Saturday night against the British couple, on September 24, 2005, in Torre del Greco, before the Italians Daniel Bracciali and Giorgio Galimberti.

Nadal has won 31 consecutive games in this competition , to which he returned from the first round of the 2018 World Group, played in Valencia against Germany. No one had achieved a similar record, adding the matches in singles and doubles. Because the role of the number 1 in the world has acquired a plus of transcendence by reincorporating itself to a specialty to which it was alien since it certified the return of Spain to the highest category by imposing itself in New Delhi with Marc López on the Indian couple formed by Myneni and Paes at the end of the summer of 2016. As with Leo Messi in Barcelona, ​​Nadal disguises the reality of the Spanish team, weakened without David Ferrer, a complement of enormous reliability in the singles.

If Nadal has a balance of 29 victories and a single defeat as a soloist, the one against Jiri Novak in his debut in the competition, 16 years ago, Ferrer left with a record of 28-5. Nothing to do with the subsequent alternatives, call Roberto Bautista, Pablo Carreño, redeemed with his triumph against Felix Auger-Aliassime or Feliciano López, to name the three men who have occupied that second place throughout this week in the Magic Box. Reluctant to the system due to the difficulties to reconcile its presence in the team with the imperatives of the circuit, Nadal has found in the new Davis another platform of claim. In addition to the hole in the second line, Spain still did not find twice as many guarantees, after successive failed experiments when it came to granting reliability at a point that, if previously enjoyed remarkable importance, has now become quite decisive.

With 33 years, the great news for Nadal is that it has come fully to the end of the course . In 2018 he retired in the semifinals of the United States Open when he lost with Juan Martín del Potro and did not play again until the Australian Open of the following season. In 2017, also suffering from knee problems, he said goodbye after losing to David Goffin the first game of the group stage of the ATP Finals.

In 2016, suffering from a wrist injury, he played his last match against Troicki, in the Shanghai 1000 Masters. The rationalization of the calendar has enabled him to compete fully in the twilight of the season. In Madrid it has been possible to see a plethoric Nadal , at maximum boiling.

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