MADRID, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Rafa Nadal will play Sergiy Stakhovsky in Friday’s second Davis Cup singles rubber after Spain announced their lineup for the World Group playoff at home to Ukraine on Thursday.
There had been doubt over world number two Nadal’s participation in the three-day tie in Madrid after his recent exertions in New York where he beat top-ranked Novak Djokovic in Monday’s U.S. Open final.
Nadal arrived in the Spanish capital early on Wednesday and after training at the “Magic Box” venue the 27-year-old was named in the team for Thursday’s draw by captain Alex Corretja.
“When I have been asked and have been free of injury I have always turned out to try to help the team win points and secure victories,” Nadal told a news conference.
“I have been playing at the maximum intensity for practically a whole month and obviously that has a draining effect,” he added.
“But I am ready for tomorrow and it’s just going to require another little bit of effort. I hope to be competitive even though I have spent very few hours on the court.”
Stakhovsky caused a huge upset at Wimbledon this year when he defeated seven-times champion Roger Federer in the second round but Nadal should have little trouble against the world number 92, especially as the tie is on his favoured clay.
Nadal has won 20 of his 21 Davis Cup singles matches, including a perfect 16 out of 16 on clay.
Spain number two Fernando Verdasco will play Ukraine number one Alexandr Dolgopolov in the opening singles, with the doubles to come on Saturday and the reverse singles on Sunday in the first meeting between the two nations.
Spain are in the playoffs after losing away to Milos Raonic’s Canada in the first round in February when Nadal, who had just returned from a seven-month injury layoff, did not feature. They had last fallen in the first round in 2006 when a team also missing Nadal was beaten 4-1 by Belarus on indoor carpet in Minsk.
In other World Group playoff ties Poland’s hopes of joining the elite for the first time have been dealt a huge blow after Wimbledon semi-finalist Jerzy Janowicz was ruled out with a back injury for the home tie against Australia in Warsaw.
Andy Murray will lead Britain’s attempt to return to the World Group and will face 16-year-old Croatian Borna Coric in the opening singles rubber in Umag. (Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Martyn Herman)