Barcelona (Spain):Top-ranked Rafael Nadal was picked on Friday to lead Spain against Serbia in the first round of the Davis Cup.
Nadal pulled out of next week's Dubai Tennis Championships to recuperate from a slight strain to his right leg so that he could be ready for the best-of-five Davis Cup series from March 6-8.
Spain captain Alberto Costa also chose David Ferrer, Feliciano Lopez and Tommy Robredo. Lopez and Robredo are expected to play doubles.
Nadal's injury is just below the right knee. Tendinitis in that same knee forced the Australian Open champion to miss out on the Davis Cup final in November, when Spain beat Argentina for it's third title in eight years.
Fernando Verdasco, who was the star of the final and pushed Nadal to five sets in the Australian Open semifinals, will miss the match due to an ankle injury.
Nadal, who is likely to come up against third-ranked Novak Djokovic in Benidorm, is still planning to play in Indian Wells, California, after the Davis Cup.