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In Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz's absence, Spain lose to Croatia and exit Davis Cup in quarterfinals

Mutua Madrid Open - Day Nine
Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz at the 2022 Madrid Open at La Caja Magica in Madrid, Spain.

With World No.1 Carlos Alcaraz and World No.2 Rafael Nadal unavailable, six-time champions Spain fell to Croatia in the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup Finals. Marin Cilic knocked out Spain by defeating Pablo Carreno Busta 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (5).

Despite finishing the 2022 season ranked first and second in the world, neither player was present in Spain's Davis Cup team. While Alcaraz played the group matches for Spain, he missed the quarterfinals due to an abdominal strain that brought his incredible 2022 season to an end.

Though the Davis Cup has been an important part of Nadal's illustrious career, with the Spaniard winning it for his country five times, he was left out of the team because of an abdominal injury that first surfaced at Wimbledon. The 22-time Grand Slam champion even stated recently that he was unsure if he would be able to play for Spain in the Davis Cup again.

Although Croatia lost all three of their previous encounters with Spain, the fact that the Spaniards were missing the World No.1 and World No. 2 handed them the edge. Cilic later confessed that if Spain had both of them, the results would have been different.

"It would be much different. Rafa has been during all his career a leader of the team. He's one of the best Davis Cup players ever,” said Marin Cilic at the press conference, adding, "Carlos, fantastic season for him. Such a pity for him to get injured."

"Now someone very special has arrived" - Rafael Nadal lauds Carlos Alcaraz as future leader of Spanish tennis

Carlos Alcaraz(L) and Rafael Nadal (R) pictured at the 2022 Mutua Madrid Open
Carlos Alcaraz(L) and Rafael Nadal (R) pictured at the 2022 Mutua Madrid Open

Ahead of his exhibition tour in South America, Rafael Nadal praised compatriot and current World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz for evolving as a generational star in Spanish tennis.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion said that he was happy with the fact that Alcaraz will represent Spanish tennis going forward and called him "someone very special."

"There has always been a generational change. It is true that we had been missing in recent years, we were only Nadal, Carreño, Bautista... but now someone very special has arrived," he said at a press conference said, as per Eurosport.
"Happy to have someone very good in our country and that we enjoy him for many years. Carlos is a very different player, who aspires to be one of the best in history. He is young, he has started well, he has the potential to achieve great things and he is already achieving them," he added.

Rafael Nadal and wife Maria Francisca Perello spotted with infant son. click here for pictures.

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Edited by Anirudh
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