AN EMOTIONAL Rafael Nadal hailed the best crowd of his life after a typically gutsy victory over Juan Martin del Potro earned Spain a third Davis Cup in four years, to the delight of a 22,000-strong support in Seville.
Nadal had to come from a set down to defeat Argentinian No1 Del Potro 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 (7-0) and gain the hosts an unassailable 3-1 lead with one singles match to spare.
Afterwards the world No2, who has now on 20 consecutive Davis Cup singles matches, revealed he would skip Spain’s defence next year in order to play at the London 2012 Olympics.
“I want a coherent calendar. So next year, since it’s an Olympic year, my participation in the Davis Cup is impossible. Then we will think about the future. For the time being, let’s enjoy today,” he said. “Today is one of the most emotional days of my career. After such a difficult year, this was a spectacular finale to the season.
“To win a final this way is very special. We are very grateful to all the people of Spain. It was the best atmosphere I have experienced in my career.”
The decisive match was played out in a raucous setting, with the Argentinian contingent in the Olympic Stadium also making themselves heard, to the degree that they were asked to quieten down by the umpire.
Knowing only victory would keep Argentina’s hopes of a maiden title alive, former US Open winner Del Potro went on the offensive in the first set and, despite being broken at the first opportunity, then roared through six straight games.
Nadal arrested his slump by taking the second and third sets, before a fourth that swung this way and that until the tie-break, which the Spaniard swept through to seal the triumph.
Spain’s victory underlined their recent dominance of the competition, having won all five of their titles since the turn of the century. Argentina, meanwhile, acquired the dubious honour of becoming the first country to lose four finals.
COMPLETE RESULTS | DAVIS CUP
Rafael Nadal (SPA) beat Juan Monaco (ARG) 6-1, 6-1, 6-2
David Ferrer (SPA) beat Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) 6-2, 6-7 (2-7), 3-6, 6-4, 6-3
David Nalbandian and Eduardo Schwank (ARG) beat Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez (SPA) 6-4, 6-2, 6-3
Rafael Nadal (SPA) beat Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 (7-0)
Spain win 3-1