Del Potro, Nalbandian to play singles; doubles team not set

Updated: October 15, 2008, 6:05 PM ET
Associated Press

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- David Nalbandian and Juan Martin del Potro will play singles matches for Argentina in the Davis Cup final next month.

Who will play the doubles?

Captain Alberto Mancini admitted on Wednesday he didn't know yet.

"I'm most worried right now about putting together the doubles team," Mancini told the daily Clarin.

He said the players he's considering "are not in the best place right now."

Nalbandian could repeat his three-match semifinals effort against Russia, who Argentina beat 3-2. But Nalbandian lost the doubles and was worn out in the reverse singles, and Mancini implied that he wants to avoid putting Nalbandian under such physical strain against a Spanish team led by top-ranked Rafael Nadal.

Finding a pair to face Spain's regular duo of Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco, Mancini said potentials such as Guillermo Canas, Juan Monaco, Jose Acasuso and Agustin Calleri weren't up to Davis Cup form at the moment.

A natural choice would be Lucas Arnold, the country's highest-ranked doubles player, but his best results this year were with non-Argentines and he hasn't been summoned to the team since 2004.

Whether by chance or trial, Arnold and Nalbandian played together on Tuesday in the Madrid Masters and beat world-class Czechs Martin Damm and Pavel Vizner 6-4, 6-4.

Canas paired with Nalbandian against Russia and had a 4-3 doubles record in Davis Cup, including 2-2 with Nalbandian.

Calleri was 6-2 in doubles with four different partners but hasn't played the Saturday match since 2006.

Acasuso was 2-1 in doubles, both wins with Nalbandian, while Monaco hasn't played Davis Cup doubles even though he and Maximo Gonzalez won this year at Valencia, were runner-up at Vina del Mar and reached the U.S. Open semifinals.

Sergio Roitman also reached the U.S. Open semifinals but has never played in the Davis Cup.

The final, the first hosted by Argentina, is from Nov. 21-23 at Mar del Plata.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press