BELGRADE (Reuters) - Winning a second Davis Cup title with Serbia would cap a fantastic end to the season for Novak Djokovic and provide a springboard for restoring his supremacy on the ATP Tour, the world number two said on Wednesday.
Fresh from winning 22 straight matches and four tournaments after losing September’s U.S. Open final to Rafa Nadal, who also wrestled the number one spot away from Djokovic this season, the 26-year-old Serb is looking forward to this weekend’s final against holders Czech Republic.
“I haven’t had much time to recuperate from winning the tour-ending ATP event in London but I can’t complain because I have been in terrific form in the last 2-1/2 months,” Djokovic told a news conference in the imposing Kombank Arena on Wednesday.
”The winning streak has given me extra confidence to help my country repeat the 2010 feat, which has a very special place in our hearts.
”Beating France in that final meant the world to every one of us on the Davis Cup team and there is no doubt that emulating the success would give me the impetus to achieve my personal goals in 2014, which is to return to the pinnacle and win as many grand slams as I can.
“The semi-final win over Canada this term put the wind in my sails for the home straight on the ATP Tour after some tough grand slam defeats to Nadal at Roland Garros and the U.S. Open as well as against Andy Murray at Wimbledon.”
With the backing of a 15,000-strong home crowd, Serbia are favorites to repeat their 2010 success, but face a difficult task against a well-balanced Czech team.
The Serbs will be without Viktor Troicki, who is suspended for missing a blood test, while Janko Tipsarevic is doubtful with a niggling foot injury.
Tipsarevic faces a race against time to be fit for the opening singles on Friday as he tries to shake off a heel problem but Djokovic is confident Serbia have enough depth to see off the Czechs.
“It will probably go down to the wire as it’s a contest between two young and success-hungry teams and hopefully the experience of winning the 2010 title and the unity it created can help us win again,” Djokovic added.
”It would be another Davis Cup fairytale for us and I really think this competition is not getting as much credit as it deserves because it’s the equivalent of the soccer World Cup as the only top-level team event.
“It would help if it was played every two years, that is apparently what most players on tour want but the current format is deeply rooted in the event’s long history and tradition.”
Eager to erase the memories of a 3-2 semi-final defeat at the same venue in 2010, the Czechs are hopeful of becoming the first nation to retain their title after Spain enjoyed back-to-back triumphs in 2008 and 2009.
“Despite Serbia’s problems, they are the favourites because of the home court advantage and we know that we will have to work extremely hard to come out on top,” said the Czech world number seven Tomas Berdych.
”The good thing is that this is a team event so losing to Djokovic is not the end of the road, as we need to win three out of five contests to keep the trophy in our hands.
“It’s been a long season but I am sure that many top players who are already on holiday would love to trade places with us and be here.”
Editing by Toby Davis