Djokovic to skip Serbia’s Davis Cup tie against India
India’s chances of success in the Davis Cup World Group play-off tie suddenly brightened considerably when World No.1 Novak Djokovic pulled out of the contest citing fatigue.
The Serbian star, who endured a shock defeat to Japanese Kei Nishikori in the semi-finals of the US Open, also seeks to spend time with his wife Jelena, who is expecting the couple’s first child.
“He (Djokovic) is very tired. He wants to take rest and get ready for the last part of the season. He wants to stay No.1 till the end of the season. Also, there are personal reasons after he got married and wants to spend some time at home. That is normal part of life,” Serbian non-playing captain Bogdan Obradovic said in Bangalore, which hosts the tie starting on Friday.
The reigning Wimbledon champion has been replaced by World No. 179 Ilija Bozoljac. Obradovic, however, exuded confidence that even without the seven-time Grand Slam champion, his team had enough firepower to put it across the hosts.
“We have a very confident team. With Novak, we would have been stronger, but still, we have players who are rising,” he said. “In our team, we have two youngsters Dusan Lajovic (World No. 61) and Filip Krajinovic (107).
They have been doing well on the tour. “Lajovic, though he lost in the first round of the US Open, has experience in Davis Cup. They have played together for many years and know each other very well. Bozoljac is a good singles player, runs very well and has played some good matches. He can also play doubles and that is good for our team, especially on the third day as we never know what will happen on Saturday.”
India will enter the tie with the team featuring Somdev Devvarman (144) and Yuki Bhambri (153) earmarked for singles, while veterans Rohan Bopanna and Leander Paes likely to feature in the doubles match. With the best player in the world not featuring, it seems a much more even contest now.
Though the Serbian singles players are higher ranked, they may succumb to the unique pressure of the Davis Cup. India may also be energised by the home crowd. Paes, who has eight Grand Slam men’s doubles titles to his credit) and Bopanna are top doubles players in their own right, but so is Serbia’s Nenad Zimonjic (three Grand Slam men’s doubles titles).
The Serbs are not taking anything for granted. “We have a good team. We are looking forward to the match. If Leander Paes plays, it will be tough. But it doesn’t matter who is on the other side of the net, we have to do our best and believe in victory. That is what makes Davis Cup a special competition,” Bozoljac said.
He was also confident his team will be able to adjust to the conditions in Bangalore. “We travel a lot and play in different conditions. It is up to a good tennis player how he adjusts to different conditions. We are on the court as much as we can and try to experience the conditions. ”