The Ecuadorian captain has made it clear that his team is in Madrid to rise to the occasion and meet the big challenge posed by Spain and the Russian Tennis Federation.

Despite having landed in one of the toughest groups, Ecuador arrives in this Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals with the clear idea of being competitive. At the helm of the team, as for the previous 28 years, is Raul Viver, who will become the longest-serving captain in the history of the Davis Cup this year in Madrid.

“It’s been 28 years, it’s a big satisfaction and I value it a lot because with a team that doesn’t have a star like maybe Spain or Russian Tennis Federation or other countries have, or a top-10 player, we got here against all odds based on our unity, our work and our team spirit,” said Viver. “I value the effort that the players put into this a lot, when they play for their country, they raise their game by a big margin.”

Viver is aware of the big task that lies ahead having to face a group with two of the main favourites: the current champions Spain and the Russian Tennis Federation. However, despite the big differences in ranking between the Ecuadorian players and their rivals, Viver does not want to assume the role of underdog.

“What can I say about RTF? They have the No.2 player in the world. They have Khachanov and Karatsev, who are among the 20 best players,” he said. “Spain are playing at home, even without Nadal, they have very strong players. We know that we are the weakest team on paper according to the rankings, but we are always going to go out there and fight in every tie despite not being the favourites.”

"We know that we are the weakest team on paper according to the rankings, but we are always going to go out there and fight in every tie despite not being the favourites."

The Ecuadorian team achieved their place in the Finals thanks to a brilliant away win against Japan, something very few expected at the time.

“When we went to Japan, very few thought that we could come back with the qualification”, recalled Viver. “A friend of mine asked me about our options and I said that we were going for the qualification. He told me to be realistic. I told him that if I go somewhere to compete, I like to go for the win, not to take a stroll and see what happens. That was our mentality when we went to Japan.”

Ecuador´s presence is this Davis Cup Finals is a big achievement in itself for a country whose previous best result in the competition was a World Group quarter-final appearance in 1985. Curiously enough, Viver also had a starring role in the team back then, but as a player leading the team alongside the legendary Nicolas Lapentti.

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