[QODLink]
Tennis

Djokovic aiming for Davis Cup glory

Days after crushing US Open defeat, world number one hopes to bounce back in challenging tie against Canada.

Last Modified: 12 Sep 2013 14:23
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Djokovic lost to Rafael Nadal in four sets at the US Open last weekend [EPA]

Winning the 2010 Davis Cup for Serbia proved the launch pad for Novak Djokovic to reach the top of the men's game and the 26-year-old hopes another epic run will have a similar effect.

Looking upbeat and raring to go just a few days after a crushing US Open defeat by Rafael Nadal, Djokovic was named to play singles on the opening day of the semi-final against Canada in the cavernous Belgrade Arena.

Any fatigue from his New York battles and the long-haul flight home will be soothed by the prospect of playing in front of the partisan home crowd, the world number one said.

"I am tired and jet-lagged but also as inspired and motivated as ever to play for my country," Djokovic told a news conference after Thursday's draw which pitted him against Vasek Pospisil in Friday's opening singles rubber.

"It's not the first time I've had only two days to recuperate for a Davis Cup tie after the US Open and the fact that we will be playing at home for the first time in two years will galvanise us to perform.

"The 2010 triumph was a stepping stone for all of us in terms of our individual careers and that's why we are really looking forward to it."

Anti-climax

Following their epic 3-2 win over France in the 2010 final, which produced a football-like atmosphere in a jam-packed arena, Serbia suffered their first loss at the venue in the 2011 semis.

An ailing Djokovic, who was nursing a ribcage injury, retired against Juan Martin del Potro in the reverse singles, handing Argentina an unassailable 3-1 lead as he collapsed to the ground in anguish.

It was an anti-climax to his memorable US Open final win against Nadal that season, the most successful in the Serb's career as he also claimed the Australian Open and Wimbledon to go with a myriad of Masters Series titles.

"I am fit this time and I don't think adapting to red clay will be a problem because I've done it before," he said of the specially-prepared clay surface.

"Canada are a very strong team but our home fans can help us prevail in what promises to be a delicately balanced tie."

Janko Tipsarevic has returned to the Serbian squad after a 16-month absence and faces big-serving Milos Raonic in Friday's second singles rubber.

Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac play Belgrade-born Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil in Saturday's doubles, while Djokovic locks horns with world No. 11 Raonic and Tipsarevic clashes with Pospisil in Sunday's reverse singles.

Nestor, Zimonjic's former doubles partner on the ATP Tour, said he expected no empathy from a raucous Belgrade crowd although he called his birthplace "a home away from home."

"Will they take it easy on me? Maybe they will early on but if Serbia find themselves on the receiving end they will do what they have to in order to help the home team win," he said.

Frank Dancevic, the other player in Canada's squad, also has Serbian roots and added: "I always felt very welcome here and it's great knowing the city and where to go to have a Serbian burger."

The winners of the tie will face either holders the Czech Republic or Argentina in the final.

583

Source:
Reuters
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
More than 400 gaming dens operate on native lands, but critics say social ills and inequality stack the deck.
The Palestinian president is expected to address the UN with a new proposal for the creation of a Palestinian state.
Nearly 1,200 aboriginal females have been killed or disappeared over 30 years with little justice served, critics say.
Ethnic violence has wracked China's restive Xinjiang region, leading to a tight government clampdown.
Malay artists revitalise the art of puppeteering by fusing tradition with modern characters such as Darth Vader.