Rafael Nadal and Feliciano Lopez have both questioned the selection of Gala Leon Garcia as the Spanish Davis Cup captain, but the former WTA player is defending her decision to take the position.
Leon Garcia, the sports director of the Spanish tennis federation RFET, was appointed new captain when Carlos Moya decided not to renew his captaincy. She will be the first female Spanish Davis Cup captain. The move comes following Spain's defeat in this month's World Group playoffs, a tie in which nine of the country's top 12 players did not play.
Nadal's uncle and coach, Toni, had previously criticized the appointment on Spanish radio, saying Leon Garcia appeared to have little experience with men's tennis and there could be problems with her entering the locker room.
Leon Garcia said she had expected the selection to "create noise."
"I'm not here to create a sexist debate but to return Spain to the World Group," she said. "I am the sports director of the RFET and that says it all."
Nadal, speaking separately, noted that he has "nothing against" Leon Garcia, but found it "strange" that she would assume the position given Spain's legion of top names. "There are a lot of players with big careers, who have still not been captain, it could have been their turn," he said.
Lopez said he did not expect any locker room issues—"everyone would adapt, like a lot of men are coaches of women players," he said—but agreed that the choice of Leon Garcia raised questions.
"She was put without any consulting any player. Normally the RFET president would ask us," Lopez said. "Previous captains have been our coaches or former colleagues, which makes it easier."
The RFET president has confirmed the choice following some initial indecision.
Leon Garcia also indicated that she did not require specific experience with men's tennis. "Tennis is tennis," she said. "There are variations, but people who understand tennis can move in both."
Moya, the previous captain, had said that the non-participation of the players prompted him to leave the position.