Rafael Nadal back after hip injury to lead Spain in Davis Cup tie

Rafael Nadal back after hip injury to lead Spain in Davis Cup tie
Rafael Nadal.

World number one Rafael Nadal will make his return to action on Friday by spearheading Spain's bid to reach the Davis Cup semi-finals.

The 30-year-old has been sidelined since a hip injury forced him to withdraw from the Australian Open in January.

Confirmation of Nadal's return came on Thursday afternoon at the draw for the Davis Cup quarter-finals.

Spain host Germany in Valencia on Nadal's favoured clay surface and the 16-time grand slam winner will face Philipp Kohlschreiber in the second rubber, after David Ferrer takes on Alexander Zverev.

Nadal, who has won his last 22 singles rubbers, will then face world number four Zverev in the first match on Sunday.

Despite his spell on the sidelines, Nadal reclaimed the top ranking after Roger Federer's surprise loss to world number 175 Thanasi Kokkinakis at the recent Miami Open.

Nadal has not lost a singles rubber since his debut in the competition, when Jiri Novak of the Czech Republic beat the then 17-year-old in 2004.

Elsewhere this weekend, world number 11 Lucas Pouille, who helped clinch France's first title in 17 years last year, will lead the holders against Italy in Genoa.

John Isner, fresh from his triumph in Miami, will line up for the United States at home to Belgium while Croatia, with Wimbledon runner-up Marin Cilic in their ranks, face Kazakhstan in Varazdin.

- PA

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