Rafael Nadal guides Spain to emotional Davis Cup title
Rafael Nadal capped a remarkable season, guiding Spain to a sixth Davis Cup title as he beat Denis Shapovalov to seal victory over Canada in Madrid’s Caja Magica.
Earlier on Sunday, Roberto Bautista Agut edged past Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, ensuring Nadal’s 6-3, 7-6 (9-7) win over Shapovalov gave Spain an unassailable 2-0 lead in the revamped tournament.
In 2010 Nadal won three majors, but the 33-year-old will likely look back on 2019 as an extraordinary year as he won the French Open and the US Open, made the Australian Open final and also reached the Wimbledon semifinals.
The Mallorcan also finishes the season as world No. 1. Oh and he married longtime partner Xisca Perello last month.
“I’m incredibly happy to end the year like this,” Nadal, who also won the Davis Cup in 2004, 2009 and 2011, told reporters.
Nadal’s victory against Shapovalov ensured the 33-year-old won all of the eight rubbers he played during the 2019 Davis Cup event.
Sunday’s final marked the end of a week of international tennis in which soccer star Gerard Pique‘s controversial $3 billion revamp of the Davis Cup had begun in front of a less than packed house in Madrid.
The Barcelona defender’s investment company Kosmos has signed a 25-year deal to run the new-look nations team event as part of a pact with the International Tennis Federation, but the format has attracted plenty of criticism.
Instead of the traditional three-day format where one nation hosted another — bringing a unique atmosphere and often full stadiums, especially at the highest tier — 18 nations assembled in Madrid, with matches contested over the best of three sets.
On Sunday Pique, along with King Felipe VI and Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos, was watching on at the Caja Magica in what proved to be a hugely emotional day for the Spain team.
Bautista Agut’s win over Auger-Aliassime came after the Spaniard withdraw from the team on Thursday, following the death of his father Joaquin.
“I could not have played today without all the work of my teammates this week,” Bautista Agut told reporters.
“After such a complicated week, I had to get out there and face it. Everything was difficult today but I managed to overcome it and get the first point for Spain.”
Spain’s team will share $2.1 million for winning the Davis Cup.