It has been eight years. Eight years since Spain won the Davis Cup. In front of King Felipe, they won an emotional sixth Davis Cup championship cheered on by a wildly partisan home crowd. For Spain the Caja Magica, where it was played, lived up to its name The Magic Box because of the team by trainer Sergi Bruguera, it was magical.
Davis Cup played in a completely different format. The home and away series, now 18 teams in the city, divided into groups with eight nations. From here Spain and Canada emerged to battle it out.
Spain was playing its final tenth and Canada a historical first. The home country sealed the final by the two singles which meant the double rubber, which during the week had not played.
Roberto Bautista Agut had been absent all week but he was nominated for the first singles in he final. Incredibly sad for him he has gone home, he has gone to his father, he has come to some incredibly mental fortitude to come back and play. He defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6, 6-3 to give Spain the advantage.
It was roundly believed that the spirit of his father was in his head and was in the lead.
With the advantage being with Spain the pressure was on Denis Shapovalov as Rafa Nadal could play freely but the 6-3, 7-6 result turned out to be quite tough. The Spaniard broke serve in the sixth game. On his second set point he came up with a good serve and the Canadian sent a forehand return long.
In the second set Mr. Nadal got the mini break to go up 5-3 and then had two Davis Cup points at 6-4 but Mr. Shapovalov came up with stunning tennis to stay in the hunt winning three points in a row that gave him set point. Rafa returned fire with the help of the crowd and closed out the breaker 9-7 when Denis sent a forehand into the net as he was going for a return down the line.
“It ben amazing, the whole week,” Mr. Nadal said. When you finally win the title after all the things we went through, and playing at home, is something difficult to describe. It’s an amazing feeling and especially share this great moment with all the people that supported us; is just unforgettable. It’s been an unforgettable week for all of us, without a doubt. So super happy. Honestly, it’s one of the weeks that we’ll never forget.”
Mr. Bautista Agut remained composed as he reflected on the week saying, “it was very difficult”. He took the decision to go home and then comeback the day before the final. In a wonderful gesture before their first tie the Spain team left a space in their line up as a mark of respect for their teammate.
“I was trying to support the team to get the win, I was trying everything,” he said. “I had an opportunity to play the final because all the team did an unbelievable effort since the first day. It was an amazing feeling on the court. I have to say, it’s one of the best weeks in my tennis career. When Rafa won he last point, was amazing and it was an unbelievable feeling.”
The Canadians albeit disappointed put in a remarkable effort to reach the final, beating Australia in the quarters and Russia in the semis, both times in deciding doubles rubbers. Live doubles matches provided the majority of highlight matches.
"We've really come a long way," said the 20-year-old. "Definitely we're super proud. Obviously it sucks, sucks in the finals, but I'm super proud of everyone. We've been in 120% every singles day. It's amazing how far we've been able to come. "
Their effort certainly not overlooked, and it prompted Mr. Nadal to say they are "amazing; They're going to be one of the team that's going to be unbeatable in the next couple of years. "