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Spain revel in Davis Cup glory
Emma Graham-Harrison |
December 06, 2004 21:00 IST
Spain hailed the fulfilment of an old dream and the rise of a new star on Monday after the national team secured the country's second Davis Cup title in five years.
Stalwart Carlos Moya clinched victory against the U.S. with a masterful defeat of world number two Andy Roddick on Sunday, making up for missing out on Spain's first Davis Cup win in Barcelona in 2000 when he was returning from injury.
"For many years this has been my goal and my dream. I could not ask for more," said the former French Open champion and world number one after his straight sets victory.
Teenager Rafael Nadal, the youngest ever Davis Cup winner, underlined his potential when he dismantled Roddick's game on Friday, setting the stage for Sunday's triumph.
"Moya and Nadal keep it in Spain," said sports daily As below a picture of the men, both from the island of Mallorca, although 10 years apart in age.
Photos of Moya, who beat Mardy Fish in the opening singles on Friday, being tossed into the air moments after he wrapped up victory were splashed across much of the national press.
"Champions, Champions" boasted the cover of sports paper Marca above a huge photo of the team posing with the 'salad bowl' as the trophy is affectionately known in Spain.
One newspaper focused on another star of the final -- the 27,000-strong crowd that was the largest ever to attend an official tennis competition.
"Seville drove the triumph" the headline in El Correo de Andalucia read.
Draped in the national colours the fans sang, clapped and screamed their team on during the tie, creating a frenzied atmosphere in Seville's Olympic Stadium.
Even crown prince Felipe, watching with his recent bride Letizia, joined the party on Sunday, catching a stray ball that went flying his way and jumping to his feet to applaud the win.
Coaches and players said the atmosphere was unique.
"In sporting terms this is the biggest thing that could happen to me," said Spain captain Jordi Arrese.
"Even if we manage it again in the future, it will not be the same, the atmosphere and setting could not be repeated."
The three-day final had began with background tension caused by the decision to play Nadal instead of former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero for the singles rubbers.
Ferrero, who played in the 2000 team, could barely hide his disappointment over playing only the weekend doubles rubber.
"It has been a very difficult week. We knew the decisions we took could count against us...we have suffered," Arrese said.
However Nadal's performance more than justified his inclusion and Ferrero said the win had helped him move on.
"That issue is long forgotten," he said. "I feel fortunate to have won a second Davis Cup when I am only 24 years old."
The celebrations will not last long, however, as the team's players are already thinking about the year ahead.
"We don't have long to rest, we are off to Australia soon and have to get back to the circuit, back to work," Moya said.
The coaches were not so focused on the future, however.
"We just want to think about victory, and the parties we are going to have," said Arrese.
"I am seeing everything in silver after winning this cup."