Feliciano Lopez is ready to rumble…
The 35-year-old Spanish tennis player will replace Rafael Nadal on Spain’s Davis Cup team.
Nadal decided to take time off after his Australian Open final loss to Roger Federer.
The Spanish tennis federation said Nadal has been dropped from Spain’s Davis Cup team because of fatigue following his five-set loss to Federer in Sunday’s final.
Lopez will now fill in for Nadal at next weekend’s best-of-five series at Croatia in the first round of the World Group.
The federation said the decision was made after a recommendation by doctor Angel Ruiz Cotorro, who said Nadal’s recovery time would be too short. He said it was taken into consideration that Nadal played a significant number of matches after a four-month layoff because of a wrist injury.
“Rafa’s wear and tear in the last month was very significant,” Spain captain Conchita Martinez said. “He needs to recover from his recent efforts and certainly will be with us again in the next rounds.”
The 14-time Grand Slam champion is expected to return to action in Rotterdam from Feb. 13-19.
Nadal, ranked No. 6 in the world, helped Spain defeat India last year to secure its return to the World Group, although he missed his singles match because of the lingering wrist injury.
The other Spanish players to face Croatia are Roberto Bautista Agut, Pablo Carreno Busta and Marc Lopez.