Led by second-ranked Rafael Nadal and No. 5 David Ferrer, Spain is vying for its third title in four years while the South Americans are looking for their first in four attempts. The best-of-five series begins Friday on clay at the Olympic Stadium with two opening singles matches.
“There’s always pressure, especially in a final. But they are favored over us and have more pressure,” Argentina’s David Nalbandian said. “It is a very complicated series, one where we can win or lose all the points. We have to be well prepared.”
Spain has won 20 in a row at home since 1999, while Nadal and Ferrer are a combined 25-0 in singles play on clay in the competition. Nadal hasn’t lost a singles match since his debut in 2004, accumulating an 18-1 record in singles.
“We could win or lose 4-1 or 1-4 or 3-2,” Argentina captain Tito Vazquez said. “Rafa is a fortress on clay and so is Ferrer.”
The series is a rematch of the 2008 final, when Spain won at Argentina despite missing an injured Nadal.
“That’s in the past, completely in the past,” Argentina player Juan Martin del Potro said. “After that final, we grew up. I’ve improved my game a lot and now we have another chance.
“Every final is different. Here it’s different players, different surface, different stadium and this time Spain is the favorite. It’s going to be different than Mar del Plata, if we are in good shape and remain focused.”
The Argentines are still getting used to the peculiar shadows inside the Olympic Stadium.
Vazquez said the surface was “relatively quick and slippery.”
“It’s not easy to see very well, there are bright spots and dark ones,” Vazquez said. “But that’s the way the court is. We have to adapt. That’s what happens when the host gets to choose the surface and the balls, which are also a little strange.”
Nadal is coming off a disappointing exit at the ATP World Tour Finals, where he admitted he had lost some passion for the game.
Vazquez is likely to choose between either Nalbandian or Juan Monaco to go up against Nadal to open the series. Del Potro likely to face Ferrer.
While Vazquez included Juan Ignacio Chela to his squad, the Argentina captain is expected to add doubles specialist Eduardo Schwank to the team for Thursday’s draw.
Spain captain Albert Costa is counting on Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco for doubles on Saturday.