High home hopes for Davis Cup

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The last time the Czechs played Spain in the Davis Cup final, they were thrashed 5-0 on the Spaniards’ favourite clay surface in Barcelona.

Three years later, the Czech Republic are playing at home on a fast indoor hard court and Spain are without the injured Rafael Nadal.

All of which gives the Czechs hope of winning their first Davis Cup as an independent nation since the 1993 split of Czechoslovakia.

Czechoslovakia’s only title came in 1980, when Andy Murray’s coach Ivan Lendl led the team to victory.

Defending champions Spain are looking for their fourth title in five years.

“So far, it’s the biggest moment of my career,” said Czech world No 6 Tomas Berdych. “It is our goal to bring the trophy back after so many years.”

The 100th Davis Cup final starts today with Czech Radek Stepanek playing David Ferrer in the opening singles of the best-of-five match. Berdych will face Nicolas Almagro in the second singles match at Prague’s O2 Arena.

Ivo Minar and Lukas Rosol, of the Czech Republic, were selected to play Saturday’s doubles against Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez, who won the ATP World Tour Finals title in London on Monday. But captain Jaroslav Navratil is expected to bring in Berdych and Stepanek, who have 11 wins and just one loss in Davis Cup doubles.

In Sunday’s reverse singles, Berdych is scheduled to face Ferrer and Stepanek to meet Almagro.