The 2013 Davis Cup is entering the final stretch of play, and Novak Djokovic made a smart decision when he opted to sit Saturday's doubles match in order to prepare for Sunday's singles match against Czech Tomas Berdych.
Ironically, Djokovic was scheduled to face the Czech doubles team of Berdych and Radek Stepanek on Saturday. Instead, Serbian teammates Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac competed against the Czech tandem.
Sitting on Saturday to focus on his singles match was a great move for Djokovic and the Serbian team in the Davis Cup. After Saturday's Czech win in doubles, they took a 2-1 lead in the Davis Cup. Djokovic's match on Sunday against Berdych now has major implications.
The Czechs are looking to retain the Davis Cup after winning last year, and it would mark the first time since 2008 and 2009 that a nation won back-to-back trophies (Spain).
The Serbs, who are hosting the cup, will now have to play spoiler. Djokovic will be tasked with taking down Berdych, a player he has beaten 14 times in 16 tries. As if that wasn't enough to swing the match in his favor, Djokovic has also won 23 straight singles matches.
Sure, losing the doubles point on Saturday could prove tough to swallow. One would think that playing Djokovic against the Czechs on Saturday would have swung the match in their favor, but then his effectiveness for singles on Sunday would have been put in question.
Can the Serbs still win the Davis Cup after going down 2-1?
After playing a fast-paced doubles match, there was obviously a chance that Djokovic wouldn't have been playing with a full tank of gas in singles. Given that singles is where he will play his best, saving him for then was the best move.
Being completely rested before the match will be a key against Berdych, as picking up a first-set win in dominant fashion will be enough to all but seal the win. Beating Djokovic is hard enough, but beating him three out of four sets after he wins the first is nearly impossible.
Djokovic's choice to sit Saturday is one that will ultimately benefit himself and his nation. The Serbs stand a better chance of knocking off the Czechs with a healthy, rested and presumably dominant Djokovic taking care of business in Sunday's singles.