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Spain captain defends tactics

ESPN staff
November 19, 2012 « Police probe McClean death threats | Chartbeat test »
Alex Corretja was unrepentant in his decision to select Nicolas Almagro © PA Photos
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Spain captain Alex Corretja has defended his decision to select Nicolas Almagro for the Davis Cup final after the world No. 11 lost the decisive fifth singles rubber to Radek Stepanek.

David Ferrer's victory over Tomas Berdych earlier on Sunday ensured the final in Prague went down to the wire, but Stepanek was the hero for the Czech Republic after sealing an historic 3-2 win.

Corretja came under fire for his decision to pick clay court specialist Almagro rather than big serving Feliciano Lopez, whose game was better suited to the fast indoor court in the O2 Arena.

But the two-time French Open finalist refused to accept he had made a tactical error and insisted he would pick Almagro over Lopez again. Almagro lost both his singles rubbers against Stepanek and Berdych.

"I don't think I made a mistake and I don't think we lost the tie because Nico Almagro played," Corretja told Spanish radio station Cadena Ser. "Having seen the way Nico Almagro played on Friday I still believe that he was the right person to play the final rubber. Who knows if a different player would have been any better? Nobody.

"I am a fan of Feliciano Lopez in the sense that he has given a huge amount to the Davis Cup team. He's an excellent team-mate and an excellent friend and an excellent Davis Cup player and an excellent player on those courts but I have a huge number of reasons why I think Almagro had to play.

"As captain I try to cope with the situation as best I can and in the end we fought as hard as we could to win a final that eluded us by a tiny, tiny margin. If we played Czech Republic again tomorrow I would choose the same four players."

"Alex is there to take these kinds of decisions, they are not easy and you have to respect them," Lopez was quoted as saying on Thursday after the draw for the final. "But on a technical level I don't understand it. I thought I was going to play because this surface suits me very well."

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