Rafael Nadal has denied Novak Djokovic the chance to get revenge for winning their French Open clash, as the world No 3 has opted to skip the Davis Cup Finals Group Stage next month. The long-time rivals were expected to meet once again when Spain and Serbia were drawn in the same group but Nadal is noticeably absent from his country’s squad.
Nadal’s name was missing as Spain confirmed their full five-man lineup for next month’s Group Stage of the Davis Cup Finals. Fans rejoiced when Spain was drawn in the same group as Serbia as the groups were confirmed back in April, ready to see another installment of the Nadal and Djokovic rivalry.
But the pair will now have to wait to do battle for a 60th time after the 22-time Grand Slam champion opted not to play in September’s group competition. Spain announced their squad for next month’s contest in Valencia, naming Carlos Alcaraz, Roberto Bautista Agut, Alejandro Davidoich Fokina, Marcel Granollers and yesterday’s Montreal champion Pablo Carreno Busta in the team.
It means that the 36-year-old will not be joining his compatriots to battle for a spot in November’s Davis Cup Finals, with Spain set to face Canada and the Republic of Korea as well as Serbia in Group B. Serbia has also named their squad for next month’s battle in Valencia, with Djokovic confirmed to be part of the team alongside Miomir Kecmanovic, Filip Krajinovic, Laslo Djere and Dusan Lajovic.
It comes after the 21-time Grand Slam champion committed to playing for Serbia at the end of last year, saying: “When I said what are the biggest priorities for me at this stage of my career, I always said it’s Grand Slams and playing for the national team.” While the 35-year-old has learned he will not be facing Nadal during the group stages next month, he will be teaming up with the Spaniard on the same side of the net just a week later at Laver Cup.
Both Djokovic and Nadal, as well as their fellow Big Four rivals Roger Federer and Andy Murray, will be joining forces as part of Team Europe in the three-day Ryder Cup-style tournament, this year being staged in London’s O2 Arena from September 23 to 25.
The Spaniard’s existing commitment to the Europe-vs-the-world tournament will likely be a deciding factor in his decision not to play the Davis Cup in the week before. Nadal is set to compete in the upcoming US Open, and the group stage sits in the one weekend between the finals in Flushing Meadows and the Laver Cup.
The world No 3 is making his comeback from an abdominal injury in Cincinnati this week and explained the importance of not overplaying to preserve his body. Ahead of his comeback at the Western & Southern Open, he said: “The main thing is to stay healthy and play the events that I want to play. I will not play more than what I believe works well for my body.”