Charleroi: Top-ranked Rafael Nadal will play Ruben Bemelmans on Friday's opening day of the Davis Cup World Group match between Spain and Belgium, in his first match since injuring his thigh at the Australian Open.
Sixth-ranked David Ferrer will play the opening match for the heavily favored Spaniards against Xavier Malisse on Friday on the hard court of the 6,500-capacity Spiroudome in southern Charleroi. The 51st-ranked Malisse is the only Belgian player ranked in the top 100, while Spain has three in the top 10, including No. 9 Fernando Verdasco.
Nadal sustained a left thigh injury in his loss to Ferrer in the Australian Open quarterfinals, but has increased his training regimen as the series got closer. After sparring with Ferrer on Thursday, he said that physically "I am perfect."