Foot injury to keep Nadal from facing USA

3/27/2007 - Tennis

MADRID, Spain -- Rafael Nadal will skip Spain's Davis Cup quarterfinal match against the United States next month because of a lingering foot injury.

The second-ranked Nadal was left off the team for the April 6-8 match against the Americans in Winston-Salem, N.C., Spanish Tennis Federation spokesman Pedro Hernandez said Tuesday.

U.S. captain Pat McEnroe said he's surprised Nadal won't play.

"Part of me is happy, and part of me is sad," McEnroe said in Key Biscayne, Fla., where Nadal was competing in the Sony Ericsson Open. "Wearing the captain's hat, it's tougher for them, not having their best player. But as a fan, I would love to see him play."

Andy Roddick, who will play singles for the United States, said he was disappointed that Nadal will be absent and surprised by the decision.

"Personally, I don't know if you can play Davis Cup at your convenience," Roddick said. "I think it's a year-long commitment."

Nadal missed four months last year because of an injury to his right foot, and the problem resurfaced this month in Dubai.

Playing on hard courts in the United States might aggravate it, so the team's captain and doctors decided to leave Nadal off the squad, Hernandez said.

"I could knock him, but I'm not going to do that," McEnroe said. "Obviously he's healthy, but he's worried about beating himself up. He has played a lot of tennis, and it's in the middle of him getting ready for the clay-court season."

David Ferrer, Tommy Robredo, Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco will make up the team.