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Unsinkable Serbia emerges as inaugural ATP Cup champions, 10 years after clinching the Davis Cup

Ten years after their unforgettable Davis Cup title-winning run, the dynamic duo of Novak Djokovic and Viktor Troicki earned Serbia a second major international team event, the inaugural ATP Cup, after defeating the Pablo Carreno Busta/Feliciano Lopez pair (6-3, 6-4) in the final’s decisive doubles rubber in Sydney. Would the outcome have been different had Rafael Nadal — who cited fatigue to withdraw prior to the match — been on the court?

Team Serbia during the 2020 ATP Cup Tennis at Ken Rosewall Arena, with his leader Novak Djokovic.

In 2010, Novak Djokovic and Viktor Troicki had gone 2-0 on the last day of the Davis Cup final to clinch Serbia their first international team event.

In 2020, Novak Djokovic and Viktor Troicki went 2-0 in the ATP Cup final to clinch Serbia their second international team event.

It was quite the 10-year challenge as Serbia, one of the major powerhouses in tennis, completed the ultimate throwback in front of a Sydney crowd that strikingly looked (and sounded) like Belgrade a decade ago.

Earlier, a rock-solid Roberto Bautista Agut had put Spain 1-0 up with a straight-sets win against Dujan Lajovic (7-5, 6-1) before Novak Djokovic extended his hardcourt domination over Rafael Nadal (6-2, 7-6) to level the tie.

Was it over before it even started? Deprived of Rafael Nadal, the beating heart of their team, Spain came up with a Pablo Carreno Busta/Feliciano Lopez lineup — two accomplished doubles players, but who couldn’t compete with Djokovic and Troicki’s chemistry (6-3, 6-4).

The Serbian pair stroke first at 4-3 in the first set, closing it out 6-3. They broke serve again in the first game of the second set and didn’t allow their opponents a single break point until the end.

While Troicki had the final word in 2010, it was Djokovic, this time, who fittingly closed the deal, serving out a love game and falling to the ground out of euphoria, immediately swarmed by a mob a jubilant teammates.

That last scene was the perfect flourish to a topsy-turvy first edition of the ATP Cup which — just like the new-look Davis Cup — will require more time to be fully accepted and embraced by the fans.

The Serbian ones who heavily invested the Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre this week sure love it already.

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