Rafael Nadal to play Davis Cup

MADRID -- Rafael Nadal will play in the Davis Cup for Spain next week for the first time since winning the 2011 final.

He will team with Tommy Robredo, Fernando Verdasco and Marc Lopez for the World Group playoff against Ukraine at Madrid's Caja Magica starting Sept. 13.

Nadal last played for Spain in December 2011, when he won the fourth and final point of the Davis Cup final against Argentina in Seville, earning Spain its fifth title. Nadal's absence has been due in part to a knee injury that sidelined him for seven months last season.

Spain captain Alex Corretja said Tuesday that it will be a pleasure to have Nadal back because he always spreads "vitality and optimism" to his teammates.

Defending champion Czech Republic will be represented by Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek, who will team up for the first time this year in next week's semifinal against Argentina.

Berdych, who was to face Stanislas Wawrinka in the US Open's fourth round late Tuesday, missed the 3-1 quarterfinal victory at Kazakhstan because of an injury. And an injury prevented Stepanek from playing in a 3-2 first-round win at Switzerland.

Lukas Rosol, Jiri Vesely and Jan Hajek are also on the squad announced Tuesday for the Sept 13-15 tie on indoor hard court at Prague's O2 Arena. Berdych and Stepanek played all five rubbers when the Czechs beat Spain 3-2 in the final last November in Prague.

The Czechs beat Argentina 3-2 in Buenos Aires in the semifinals last year.