Hosts Spain made light work of a youthful Canadian side to win the inaugural edition of the new-look Davis Cup and claim the team trophy for a sixth time on Sunday.
Fittingly it was Spain’s talisman Rafael Nadal who sealed the triumph, beating 20-year-old Denis Shapovalov 6-3 7-6 (7) to rack up his eighth victory in eight matches during a gruelling week.
Playing for the fourth successive day, the 33-year-old was surely tired and it began to show as Shapovalov fought to keep Canada alive in their first Davis Cup final.
Nadal saved a set point in the second-set tiebreak before claiming his 29th successive Davis Cup singles win.
“[It was an] amazing week,” Nadal, who was also awarded the tournament MVP award, said.
“I could not be happier. It has been an unforgettable moment in this amazing stadium, we can’t thank the crowd enough. Our team spirit prevails.”
Roberto Bautista Agut got Spain off to a flying start in front of a sell-out 12,500 crowd in La Caja Magica (the Magic Box) by beating Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6 (3) 6-2.
The world number nine’s victory was all the more impressive considering his father had died earlier in the week and had missed the semi-final victory over Great Britain to attend the funeral.
Bautista, who pointed to the sky after his victory, praised the world number one for his efforts over the course of the week-long tournament.
“It’s a dream day. It’s been an incredible week. Each player, obviously Rafa, has been incredible. Thank you for being here.”
Bautista’s emotional victory left Shapovalov facing mission impossible against 19-time grand slam champion Nadal, but the stylish left-hander threatened to put the Spanish fiesta on hold in a combative second set as the zip went out of Nadal’s legs.
Nadal would not be denied though as he delivered Spain’s first title since 2011.
Spain’s captain, Sergi Bruguera, told Eurosport that the victory was “unbelievable”.
“When you have this moment it is difficult to describe with words — so many feelings, so many emotions you have never felt,” he said.
“Unbelievable. Imagine Roberto yesterday was in the funeral of his father, now he is here giving everything; the mentality, the spirit, giving everything for his team.
“Rafa — he is out of this world. I don’t know if he is an alien or what. Not one day we went to sleep before 3:00am this week.
“Also to play here in Madrid was an advantage for us. You have the whole crowd, they were incredible all week and drove us to the final.”
It completed a remarkable week in the Spanish capital which has been hosting the new version of the 119-year-old event featuring 18 nations.