Novak Djokovic is the hero, as Serbia capitalizes on weird Nadal absence, to claim inaugural ATP Cup.
An inspired Novak Djokovic has led Serbia to victory over Spain in the inaugural ATP Cup final, sparking scenes of ecstasy inside Ken Rosewall Arena.
Djokovic extended his hardcourt mastery over Rafael Nadal with an ominous 6-2 7-6 (7-4) win over the world No. 1 before teaming with Victor Troicki to take the deciding doubles rubber 6-3 6-4 over Feliciano Lopez and Pablo Carreno Busta. Serbia’s stirring fightback, after Roberto Bautista Agut had put Spain 1-0 up in the best-of-three tie with a 7-5 6-1 win over Dusan Lajovic in Sunday night’s opening match, left Djokovic’s army of red, white and blue followers in the stadium overjoyed. “Novak, Novak, Novak,” they chanted after their hero rallied from a service break down in the opening set of the doubles to reel off six successive games to seize command of the final.
While Nadal surprisingly pulled out of the doubles, saying he was low on energy after a total of eight singles and doubles matches in nine days, there was no stopping Djokovic despite the world No. 2 carrying Serbia with a similar twin workload. Appearing for the first time in Sydney in a decade, the 16-times grand slam champion said he’d never played in such an atmosphere as he had in front of fervent Serbian fans over the past three days. “I’ll remember this experience for the rest of my life — it’s one of the nicest moments of my career,” Djokovic said.
“I’ve been very fortunately blessed, had an amazing career over the last 15 years, but playing for a team, playing for a country with some of my best friends is just – you can’t match that. It’s too special.” He joked in an on-court TV interview that the team would fly home to Serbia to celebrate before the Australian Open, which starts a week from Monday, but decided the party should start in Sydney. “There’s a lot of Serbian people in Sydney,” Djokovic said. “If you want to make a celebration, we’re ready.”
The doubles drew the curtain on an event that proved a big hit with players and fans, dishing up competitive matches driven by the passion of athletes representing their home countries. Some $22 million in prize money was at stake along with up to 750 singles and 250 doubles ATP rankings points, with new rules trialled including on-court coaching and team zones in the corners of the court.
ATP CUP FINAL
Serbia def Spain 2-1 – No. 2 singles: Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) def. Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 7-5 6-1 – No. 1 singles: Novak Djokovic (SRB) def. Rafael Nadal (ESP) 6-2 7-6 – Doubles: Novak Djokovic and Viktor Troicki (SRB) def. Pablo Carreno Busta and Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 6-3 6-4
Information and Image have been shared from an Article sourced at Fox Sports News, on January 12, 2020. Images Credit: Fox News. 2020.