Alexander Zverev stepped into Valencia’s Plaza de Toros on Thursday and looked up at the 8,000-seater arena that will play host to the Davis Cup quarter-final between Spain and Germany this weekend.
Zverez, the 20-year-old world number four, is the bull in a china shop that Germany will look towards to lead the into the last four of the competition for the first time since 2012 as they seek a fifth Salad Bowl.
Spain suffered a setback just before the draw was made with Pablo Carreño Busta, the in-form number 12 withdrawing with a hand injury. Marc López, the experienced former doubles world number one, was called in just before the time limit to replace Carreño expired and will team up with Feliciano López in the Saturday rubber.
Nadal back for Spain
All eyes though will be on the singles rubbers, with Rafa Nadal returning to action for the first time since the Australian Open and Davis Cup veteran David Ferrer taking the other individual spot. It will be the first time Nadal and Ferrer have led Spain’s Davis Cup side together since India in 2016. Roberto Bautista, the world number 17, is a luxury stand-by for Spain captain Sergi Bruguera.
Spain are on a run of 26 victorious home ties in the Davis Cup since losing to Brazil in Lleida in 1999. The record, 29, was set by Italy between 1949 and 1964.
Zverez is Germany’s most potent weapon and he will face Nadal in the third singles rubber on Sunday, with Ferrer first up against the precocious talent on Friday.
Friday, from 11:30 CET
David Ferrer-Alexander Zverev
Rafa Nadal-Philipp Kohlschreiber
Saturday, 14:00 CET
Feliciano López and Marc López - Tim Puetz and Jan Lennard Struff
Sunday, from 11:30 CET
Rafael Nadal-Alexander Zverev
David Ferrer-Philipp Kohlschreiber