Nov 24 (Reuters) – World primary Novak Djokovic says Serbia will use the bitter reminiscence of their Davis Cup Finals defeat in 2019 as motivation to raise the trophy for a second time this yr.
At the inaugural Davis Cup Finals in Madrid two years in the past Serbia had been knocked out within the quarter-finals after Viktor Troicki and Djokovic misplaced a deciding doubles rubber to Russia.
They truly had three match factors and on the final one Troicki poked a routine volley out as he succumbed to nerves and within the post-match news convention he broke down.
Register now for FREE limitless entry to reuters.com
Serbia are drawn in Group F with Austria and Germany — each of whom are lacking their prime gamers — and will likely be fancied to succeed in the knockout part.
“It’s great to be back with the Davis Cup team,” Djokovic advised a news convention forward of Friday’s opening round-robin tie in opposition to Austria in Innsbruck, certainly one of three host venues for the 18-nation Finals being staged over 11 days.
“The last memory was a sad one, we were all very emotional, but nevertheless we were motivated to come back together and give it another go so here we are once again together again.
“We are all mates and the chemistry within the group is excellent. That’s a vital ingredient for fulfillment.”
Troicki, who won the point to secure a Djokovic-inspired Serbia victory over France in the 2010 final in Belgrade, is now the captain while Djokovic’s team mates are Filip Krajinovic, Dusan Lajovic, Laslo Djere and Miomir Kecmanovic.
In normal circumstances they would have received vocal backing from Austria’s large Serb population but the OlympiaHalle will be silent after Austria declared a national lockdown to stem rising COVID-19 infections.
It means all the ties in Group F and Group C will be played without any fans present — a bitter blow to the event which was cancelled last year because of the pandemic.
While sad that the energy of the fans will be missing, Djokovic supports the multi-city staging of the Davis Cup Finals, with main hosts Madrid also being joined by Turin.
In 2019 the whole event was staged in Madrid after the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) controversial revamp of the team competition which had traditionally involved home and away ties played across several rounds through the year.
“The Davis Cup needs to be skilled by extra folks. So I’m in favour of this yr’s format and that there are extra nations that may host group ties,” Djokovic said.
“I did not assume the format labored very nicely two years in the past.”
Britain’s captain Leon Smith, whose side will play their Group C ties in Innsbruck, said he wanted more open dialogue with the ITF and partners Kosmos Tennis, about the format of the Davis Cup going forward.
“I’m listening to that some issues could be taking place subsequent yr, however solely listening to it second hand,” he said. “It can be good to speak about it earlier than choices are made.”