Rafael Nadal's Absence from Davis Cup Won't Be Enough for USA to Upset Spain

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 4, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 28:  Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts during his Gentlemen's Singles second round match against Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic on day four of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 28, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

The United States has already advanced further in the Davis Cup than most people expected. Even though it was announced Rafael Nadal won't be available in the semifinals for Spain, the matchup will still mark the end of an impressive run for the Americans.

Nadal continues to deal with a lingering knee problem, something that's a major problem for a player like the Spanish star, who relies heavily on playing each point with maximum effort. If he can't move at full strength, he isn't as dominant.

The issue had previously forced him to withdraw from the London Olympics and the U.S. Open. For a competitor like Nadal to remove himself from a tournament that only comes around once every four years and the season's final major, it's clearly a big concern.

Not having him available for the Davis Cup semifinals is a setback for the defending champions, who destroyed the competition last year en route to the championship.

Luckily for Spain, the country has developed a boatload of talent in recent years and have more depth available than any other nation. The Associated Press reports the Spanish team will feature David Ferrer, Nicolas Almagro, Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez.

The Americans will counter with John Isner, Sam Querrey and the Bryan brothers, according to the AP. The Bryans should give the United States an advantage in doubles, but the singles matches are another story.

Andy Roddick announced he will retire once his run at the U.S. Open ends and won't be available for the Davis Cup. He isn't the force he used to be, but it would have been nice for team captain Jim Courier to have him available.

Isner and Querrey are both power players, which won't bode well on the clay, a surface on which both Spanish players are better suited to perform. Ferrer reached the semifinals of the 2012 French Open, while Almagro made the quarterfinals.

On the flip side, Isner and Querrey were both eliminated before the third round in the only major tournament held on the surface.

So even without one of the greatest clay-court players in history, Spain still holds a pretty significant edge over the United States in the singles matches. It's that advantage which will carry the team to its second straight appearance in the Davis Cup finals.

Although a semifinal loss would be a disappointment for the Americans, just reaching this point should be considered a success. Spain is just on another level right now.