CHARLEROI, Belgium -- World No. 1 superstar Rafael Nadal will lead Spain against Belgium in a first-round Davis Cup matchup this weekend in Charleroi.
The reigning U.S. Open, Wimbledon and French Open champion will play the second singles rubber on Friday against unheralded Belgian Ruben Bemelmans. The best-of-five tie will get underway with a rubber between gritty Spaniard David Ferrer and the hosts' Xavier Malisse. The hot Ferrer is fresh off his ATP title in Acapulco last week.
Nadal hasn't played anywhere since losing to Ferrer in straight sets in the quarterfinals at the Australian Open in January. Nadal was suffering with a leg injury that particular day, but did not retire from the match against his countryman.
On Saturday in Charleroi, a Spanish tandem of Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco will take on a Belgian duo of Malisse and Olivier Rochus, while Sunday's reverse singles currently pit Malisse against Nadal and Bemelmans versus Ferrer.
The two nations will battle on an indoor surface at Spiroudome.
Team Spain is captained by former French Open champion Albert Costa, who led the powerful Spaniards to a fourth Davis Cup title in 10 years in 2009.
Spain is 2-1 all-time versus Belgium, which has never won the Davis Cup.
The winner here will face the Chile-United States victor in the quarterfinals in July.