Serbia edged a tight doubles match against Spain on Saturday to seal a place in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas last four for the first time since 2013.
The team captain Nenad Zimonjic and Viktor Troicki defeated Marc Lopez and Pablo Carreno Busta 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-0, 4-6, 6-2 to give the home team an unassailable 3-0 lead against the competition’s five-time winners ahead of Sunday’s reverse singles rubbers. Nole and Viktor Troicki previously both won on the opening day at Aleksandar Nikolic Arena. On Sunday Dusan Lajovic defeated Munar but Zimonjic lost to Ramos-Vinolas.
“We expect a spectacular atmosphere against France and a tough match too as they have a bunch of top quality players and outstanding fans who have a long history in the competition,” Zimonjic told reporters after Serbia had sealed their win against Spain.
“We expect France to pick a clay court as their favourite surface. They have performers who can be outstanding on any surface but so do we and we will be ready.
“We have always been one big happy family, with each and every member totally committed to the Davis Cup team. I now wish my players good results on the ATP Tour and hopefully we will be at full strength in the semifinals.”
Zimonjic also looked back at the rip-roaring doubles clash, in which Serbia fought back from a set down as an inspired Troicki led the charge.
“It was an exciting contest which ebbed and flowed. Picking yourself to play as team captain is never easy because it brings that much more pressure to bear, but Viktor had an outstanding afternoon and helped me raise my game in the second set.”
Djokovic, who was instrumental in Serbia’s 3-2 win over France seven years ago, pointed out the September 15-17 semifinal showdown would be a clash of two nations with very different tennis traditions and infrastructures.
“France have had so much success in the Davis Cup down the years,” said the World No. 2.
“All their players develop through the Davis Cup as a very important competition for their system, which in turn generates support from the French Tennis Federation,” he added.
“The French are very hungry after coming up short recently and will undoubtedly have their defeat to us in the 2010 final on their minds.”
“They are likely to pick red clay at Roland Garros or Monte Carlo for the clash and I will do my best to make myself available for the semis because we all value playing for our country. We will be out to do battle against one of the best Davis Cup nations.”
“I am now relishing the clay court season as I felt really well throughout this Davis Cup week.”
France, who last won the Davis Cup in 2001, have had several near misses since and the defeat in Belgrade, when Serbia came back from 2-1 down to snatch the title form their grasp, will surely galvanise the nine-time winners to get some measure of revenge.
Strangely enough, Djokovic will also be feeling at home if the tie is played in his residence Monte Carlo, which also hosts one of his favoutite clay-court tournaments.
The Spaniards, whose pack leader Rafael Nadal and several other stalwarts pulled out of the clash with Serbia, will try again next year after their makeshift side went down tamely.
source: novakdjokovic.com; daviscup.com