And playing away matches as well, when everyone is booing you, giving you a new energy. And then there’s the Argentinians cheering and singing. Or what a feeling it is to be a part of a team, the feeling when you win the trophy…It’s a big competition, just seeing that unique trophy gives you a special feeling of respect.
Now the first season in the new format is coming up, with the final tournament in Madrid, which was the idea of Gerard Piqué. If someone had told me a football player would come along and change the rules of the oldest tennis tournament, I wouldn’t believe him. But it happened, Piqué did it, and I consider that scenario a great defeat for people in tennis. If Roger Federer came to UEFA and the Champions League with an idea on how to change their rules, they would run him straight out. This is simply an issue of greed, because there’s too much money at stake.
Many wonder how the first season will look and if it will survive later. I won’t bury it straight away, but I give the new format two years tops. I don’t see how it can survive financially and how they can return their investment. As far as favourites go, I think Spain is the favourite, because it’s very important to Rafael Nadal. They’re with us in the group, together with the good Russian team, so we’ve got a tough job ahead.
The Davis Cup was always an interesting competition. When we debuted in 1993 against, if someone had told me then we’d win the title twice in the next 25 years, I’m not sure I would have believed him. But we were actually quite lucky, because new names kept coming to us. After me, there was Ivan Ljubicic, then Mario Ancic, then Marin Cilic, Borna Coric… We don’t even know how lucky and ungrateful we actually are. Who are we, anyway? There’s four million of us, and America has that many registered tennis players. They have a “million” camps, and we don’t have a single one.