Wow that's disappointing to hear Rafa's going to be playing Bangkok! I just don't understand this at all, he just needs to think what's important in his whole career now and is playing this sort of event going to help him become a better player at all or build on the Legend he is building up right now. I just can't see why he doesn't head to Shanghai feeling fresh and then onto Paris a couple of weeks later before the big 1 in London. Everything now should just be geared towards the WTF and Australian Open, whether or not he takes Bangkok seriously.
He definitely needs to play the same claycourt schedule as this year. Yes Madrid is before Rome next year but he doesn't want to have to play 4 clay events before Roland Garros and maybe 3 straight weeks as it may not make a difference to his RG chances but it may do to his tournaments after that. Rafa needs to see what his results were this year from pulling out of Barcelona. But there's a long time until then so I hope Rafa does the same.
Davis Cup is so tough for somebody like Rafa to play. Usually always a surface change to the rest of the Tour schedule. Usually always the week after Australia, right before the claycourt season or right after Wimbledon, then Semi's right after New York, then the Final in December is the last thing you'd want. All this over 5 sets too and almost always the week after a Slam has finished means its so hard for someone like Rafa, Fed etc to play Davis Cup on a regular basis.