One final push – Djokovic sets sights on getting Serbia another Davis Cup crown

Ahead of this week’s Davis Cup quarter-finals, Novak Djokovic talks of the importance of performing alongside his compatriots and his hunger to win another Davis Cup crown.

Novak Djokovic Davis Cup 2023 Zuma / Panoramic

Novak Djokovic, busiest jetsetter in the sport, would certainly have a right to head for the hills after a tremendous and jam-packed season that saw him smash multiple records as he won his 22nd, 23rd and 24th major titles and finished as the ATP’s top-ranked player for a record eighth time.

It would certainly be understandable if he elected to skip this week’s Davis Cup Finals in order to rest and recuperate his 36-year-old body and spend some much-needed time with family.

But Djokovic is a different athlete, and he values his extended family – his Serbian teammates and the people of his homeland – as much as he values personal milestones. That is why he is in Malaga, eager to add a second Davis Cup title to his résume and to the résume of his teammates.

Straight from Torino, where he claimed a record seventh title at the ATP Finals by beating back Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner in the semi-final and final, Djokovic said he got a day and a half to rest and is now ready to put his best foot forward as he and his teammates get ready to face Great Britain in quarter-final action on Thursday at the Davis Cup Finals.

Not much time to leave the racquet aside

“I didn’t really have much time to celebrate, although it was very nice to have my children who are with me now, as well, and family,” Djokovic said in a press conference on Wednesday. “I got a day and a half of rest and I started training right away, because obviously there is not much time to really, I guess, leave the racquet aside.

“I’m with the team. I’m grateful to be once again in the national team,” he said. “As I said many months ago, actually the beginning of the season, that Davis Cup, you know, has been and is one of my greatest goals of this season and always is. Yeah, basically hopefully I will be able to contribute to win.”

Djokovic, who owns a 43-14 record in Davis Cup, including 39 wins in 46 singles matches, says he wants to continue riding the momentum into the final weekend of tennis.

“I couldn’t be happier with the way I performed in the semifinals and finals of Torino, so hopefully I’m carrying this kind of, basically energy and performance level to the Davis Cup. It’s the last week of the season, so, you know, one final push is necessary from each one of us, and I’m excited because I have been playing some really good tennis, particularly in the last four months of the season.”

Novak Djokovic, ATP Finals 2023
Novak Djokovic, ATP Finals 2023 – © Imago / Panoramic

Great Britain presents a massive challenge

Even without Andy Murray, the man who guided the Brits to the Davis Cup title in 2015, and talented Dan Evans in the mix this weekend, Djokovic knows Serbia will be in for a big test against a British side that features formidable southpaws Cam Norrie and Jack Draper, plus doubles specialists Neal Skupski and Joe Salisbury, if a third rubber is needed.

“Great Britain has so many options, for both singles and doubles,” Djokovic said. “I know that Andy Murray and Dan Evans are not here, but still, Great Britain is a very strong team in this format. If we split single matches, then we’re getting into the doubles where they have best players in the world, Skupski and Salisbury, and they have so many great players, it’s difficult for them to choose who to put on the court.

“We are a team that, as you can see here, we don’t have any doubles specialists, but we rely on singles, but if it comes to doubles, we are also ready to pair up in the different combinations and give it all.”

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