VANCOUVER -- They came, they saw, but they couldn't conquer.
With five championships -- all of them since 2000 -- the powerful Spanish Davis Cup team isn't accustomed to losing anywhere -- home or away.
But this past weekend the Spaniards -- still rated the No. 1 Davis Cup team despite losing last year's final to the Czech Republic -- ran into a perfect storm of adversity and were upset 3-2 by 12th-ranked Canada in first-round 2013 World Group play at University of British Columbia.
The question Spanish tennis fans are probably asking now is whether the shocking defeat is nothing more than a one-off fluke or whether it's the harbinger of a long-term slide in the world rankings.
The normally-dominant Spaniards were missing their top four singles players -- Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer, Nicolas Almagro and Fernando Verdasco -- to a combination of injury (Nadal and Almagro) and fatigue (Ferrer and Verdasco).
Nadal, whose ranking has slipped to No. 5 during his absence due to sickness and knee problems, is scheduled to return to tournament play this week in Chile.
On Sunday Canada's No. 1 Milos Raonic, the world No. 15, quickly disposed of No. 82Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in straight sets 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to clinch the series victory.
-- The Canadian Press