MADRID - Injury-stricken Rafael Nadal and Wimbledon finalist Andy Roddick will be among the big names forced to miss the Davis Cup World Group quarterfinals starting tomorrow.
Nadal, who lost his French Open and Wimbledon titles and his number one ranking to Roger Federer in the past month, is unable to turn out for champions Spain against Germany in Marbella due to his ailing knees.
Spain are also without David Ferrer, who has a muscle strain and has been replaced by former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero, while a hip injury has forced Roddick's withdrawal from the US squad to face Croatia in Porec.
The timing of the last-eight clashes immediately after the gruelling clay and grasscourt seasons again highlights the difficulties the players face with a packed calendar.
The Spanish, with Fernando Verdasco, Tommy Robredo and Feliciano Lopez in the squad, should nonetheless still be too strong for Germany on their favoured clay surface.
"We don't fear the Germans but we respect them a great deal," Spain captain Albert Costa said on Tuesday.
Mardy Fish has been called up to replace Roddick as the United States bid to defeat Croatia for the first time, having lost to them in the first round in 2003 and 2005.
"Andy had a great run at Wimbledon. Understandably, his body is not up for the rigours of the Davis Cup in such a short turnaround," said US captain Patrick McEnroe.
In Ostrava, the Czech Republic will be battling to reach their first Davis Cup semifinals since 1996 when they host last year's runners-up Argentina. It is not yet clear whether Radek Stepanek, who has a knee problem, will be fully fit.
Argentina, who beat the Czechs 5-0 in their last encounter in 2005, will be led by world number five Juan Martin del Potro. - Reuters