Nadal clinches Davis Cup victory for Spain
Originally published on: 04/12/11 17:25
As with most matches, the scoreline tells only a small part of this story.
Rafael Nadal may have been victorious in the fourth rubber against Juan Martin del Potro at Estadio Olimpico on Sunday, but it was a match that relied on not just both players, but most of the spectators inside the colossal arena.
At times during the match the players were forced to wait while the crowd had their say and right from the start it was clear this was no place for anyone with a headache.
With Nadal serving at 1-2, 0-15 the Spaniard had to wait while the South American supporters made themselves heard, and again at 0-30. And again at 0-40.
The world No.2 soon lost that game and went on to lose the first set 6-1 in just over an hour. The vocal battle in the stands continued to rage throughout the match, with the Spanish supporters soon finding their voice, much like Nadal after a slow start.
After dropping the first set, Nadal composed himself and went on to serve five times without dropping a point, taking the second set 6-4 during this spell.
The Spaniard also took the third for the loss of only one game and with the visiting support back in full voice, the players found themselves in a fourth set tiebreaker which Nadal raced away to win to love, handing Spain an historic fifth Davis Cup title after four hours and eight minutes.
Nadal fell to the ground in celebration but, ever the sportsman, he remembered to shake del Potro’s hand after disappearing under a rugby scrum of his Spanish teammates, who rushed on court and danced with joy after re-affirming their dominance of the international team competition.