Serbia’s best known tennis player and world’s number 1 ranked player, Novak Djokovic, got to be a cheerleader on the sidelines this Sunday as his teammate, Janko Tipsarevic, led the Serbian team past Canada to advance to the finals of the Davis Cup tournament. Serbia had trailed the Canadians 2-1 going into competition this weekend. As expected, Djokovic was able to easily handle his match against Canada’s Milos Raonic, 7-6 (1), 6-2, 6-2. Following Djokovic’s easy victory, it was Tipsarevic’s turn to display his talents and lead the Serbs back to the Davis Cup finals, an event they won in 2010.
Vasek Pospisil, Tipsarevic’s opponent from Canada, did not make the task easy, however. While Tipsarevic was able to win the match in straight sets, two of those sets went to a tie-breaker, with much drama coming in the third and final set. After being up a break in the last set at 5-3, Tipsarevic allowed Pospisil to climb back into the match and tie the set at 5-5. Then, once in the tie-breaker, Tipsarevic gave up 4 match-points before finally being able to put Pospisil away in the most dramatic fashion possible: Tipsarevic dove for a drop-shot hit by Pospisil and had to watch his fate from the ground as the ball slipped right over the net and past Pospisil, who had previously fallen on his last shot.
After the match, Tipsarevic stated that “This is fantastic win for me and my country. It seems I can’t have a match without drama.” Teammate Novak Djokovic shared Tipsarevic’s sentiments, adding “This is like the (football) World Cup for us. Winning the Cup in 2010 gave us players so much confidence. I’ve won a number of Grand Slams but nothing compares to sharing the joy of victory with your teammates, who are there for you and cheer on every shot you take on the court in the Davis Cup.”
Djokovic and company will attempt to win their second Davis Cup in 3 years as they face the Czech Republic in the Finals this November. Fortunately for Serbs, the contest will be held in Serbia. The location gives the Serbs a much need advantage over the Czechs, who are the defending champions and have won 8 Davis Cup ties in a row. The Czechs are led by No. 6 ranked tennis player Tomas Berdych and No. 61 Radek Stepanek. Czech team captain Jaroslav Navratil believes that the home-court advantage is key to Serbia’s potential success: “Neither Tipsarevic nor their doubles players can play on clay. They will choose a hard surface but a slower one.” Navratil also believes that the Czechs will go into the finals already down two points due to Djokovic’s previous record against the Czech’s two best players; Djokovic is 14-2 against Berdych and 8-1 against Stepanek. However, Navratil also believes that his players have the advantage against Tipsarevic, stating that “we could win two points against him.”
Unsurprisingly, the US is nowhere to be seen in Davis Cup talks once again. While the US team features the lone two Americans who are currently ranked, John Isner and Sam Querrey, along with multi-time double’s champions the Bryan Brothers, the US has had very little recent success in high-stakes competition. The United States has not had a male win a grand-slam in over a decade, and the current talent pool doesn’t suggest that that trend will change soon. While John Isner and Sam Querrey show promise, neither has yet to produce results. And with the United States’s focus on seemingly every other sport besides tennis, who knows when those results will come?
What do you think? Is the era of American-dominated tennis officially closed? Respond in the Comments section below.
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