Spain back in World Group where they belong, says Nadal

Sun Sep 18, 2016 6:32am EDT
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(Reuters) - Two years after Spain's stunning fall from grace in Davis Cup tennis, Rafa Nadal has hailed his nation's return to the World Group after victory in the playoff against India.

Nadal combined with Marc Lopez in the doubles to overhaul Leander Paes and Saketh Myneni in four sets and complete a 3-0 victory in New Delhi on Saturday, ending Spain's exile after an acrimonious period.

"For us, it was very important after two years being away from the World Group," said the 14-times grand slam singles champion.

"It's important for us to come back to where we think we have to be."

The tournament's dominant power of the modern era, Spain won five titles from 2000-11 before decline set in following their tight loss in the 2012 championship decider to Czech Republic.

With Nadal battling injury and his top team mates' commitment wavering, Spain were turfed out of the World Group in 2014 after being upset by lowly Brazil in a playoff, sparking then-captain Carlos Moya's resignation.

Moya's replacement Gala Leon was sacked within a year after a players' revolt and Spanish tennis was further embarrassed as the team crashed out to an understrength Russia in the Europe/Africa Zone Group I last year under new captain Conchita Martinez.

Former Wimbledon champion Martinez, who also captains the women's Fed Cup team, has been at pains to repair relations with her players and managed to bring a strong team to India to get the job done.

Former Davis Cup power Australia also has ambitions of returning to its glory days and will keep their place in the World Group after defeating Slovakia 3-0 in Sydney.   Continued...

Sep 4, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Rafael Nadal of Spain serves against Lucas Pouille of France (not pictured) on day seven of the 2016 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports