15 Sep 2011

Nadal prepared to step aside for Davis Cup semi

6:26 am on 15 September 2011

Rafa Nadal is ready to make way for a team-mate for this week's Davis Cup tennis semi-final against France, if captain Albert Costa feels the world number two is not properly prepared.

Nadal lost a gruelling US Open final to number one Novak Djokovic on Tuesday before flying straight back to Spain to join David Ferrer, Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez for the September 16-18 world group clash on clay in Cordoba.

Nadal has missed several Davis Cup ties through injury in recent years and the 25-year-old was absent for last year's 5-0 quarter-final loss to the French.

As hosts, Spain have chosen to play the tie on their favoured red dust and with Nadal playing and on form Costa's team would be firm favourites to advance to December's final, where they would meet champions Serbia or Argentina.

Spain and France have played each other seven times in the Davis Cup, with the Spaniards winning five. They are bidding for a third title in four years and a fifth overall.