Switzerland face a tough weekend of tennis, taking on reigning Davis Cup champions Spain on home clay – and without world number one Roger Federer.
Although Spain are also without their talisman, world number three Rafael Nadal, they remain hot favourites in the first-round tie, which begins at the Plaza de Toros de la Ribera in the Spanish town of Logroño at 1pm local time on Friday.
The Davis Cup has a 16-team knock-out format, with the winners of this weekend’s best-of-five rubber – four singles matches and one doubles – facing either France or Germany in July.
In Friday’s two singles matches, Stanislas Wawrinka (ranked 19 in the world) takes on Nicolas Almagro (ATP 40). It is Wawrinka’s first match since the birth of his first child on February 12.
Switzerland’s Marco Chiudinelli (ATP 56) will hope to create an upset against David Ferrer (ATP 16).
On Saturday Wawrinka and Yves Allegro (doubles ATP 128) play Tommy Robredo (ATP 23) and Marcel Granollers (ATP 26).
Sunday’s two singles matches are Friday’s line-ups reversed.
Switzerland actually won the first tie between the two nations – in Barcelona back in 1946 – but proceeded to lose the next four, most recently in Geneva in 2007.
Spain have dominated the competition for the past decade, having been crowned champion four times, including back-to-back victories in 2008 and 2009. The Spanish team is unbeaten in 18 home ties stretching back to 1999.
swissinfo.ch and agencies