Rafael Nadal's decision to pull out of Spain's Davis Cup semifinal against Israel has given his team's opponent a much-needed confidence boost, Israeli top seed Dudi Sela said Sunday.
An abdominal injury that has bothered Nadal during his current run at the US Open has led the third-ranked Spaniard to withdraw from the series being played Sept. 18-20, giving hope to an underdog Israeli team that is making its first ever appearance in a Davis Cup semifinal.
"Of course we are happy Nadal isn't playing," Sela told reporters at Ben Gurion Airport before the Israeli team departed for Spain. "It doesn't matter so much as they [Spain] have lots of good players in the top 20 or 30. They are the best team in the world. But it gives a little hope to know that Nadal isn't playing."
Israel secured its place in the semifinal after two stunning upset victories over Sweden and Russia.