Novak Djokovic is now truly bold, beautiful and bald. He capped a marvellous 2010 by leading Serbia to its first ever Davis Cup championship in front of a raucous, baying and partisan home crowd in Belgrade.
The Davis Cup always manages to evoke strong emotions; incredible comebacks are the need of the hour and happen more often than not.
This year’s final was no stranger to drama either. The score was even-stevens after the first day’s play.
The top seeds on either side, Djokovic and Monfils justified their ranking and clinched wins over their less acclaimed opponents, Simon (6-3 6-1 7-5) and Tipsarevic (6-1 7-6(4),6-0) respectively.
The second day’s play witnessed a stunning fight-back by the doubles pair of Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra coming back from two sets down against Zimonjic and Troicki to hand France the lead 2-1 (3-6 6(3)-7 6-4 7-5 6-4).
It was never going to be easy for the French going into the final day. Gael Monfils might have fancied his chances, but it was not to be against an inspired Novak who prioritised the Davis Cup in his playing schedule this year. The scoreline: 6-2 6-2 6-4 in the Djoker’s favour.
It all boiled down to the final match between Viktor Troicki and Michael Llodra. Though Guy Forget denies that he missed a bet by playing a fatigued Llodra against Troicki, the move backfired. The slow surface is not suited to Llodra’s style of play.
The Serb ran home in straight sets 6-2 6-2 6-3. The Davis Cup had a fresh champion.
Troicki, the world No. 30, shot into the limelight this year when he almost threw a spanner in Djokovic’s path to the final at the US Open.
"This is by far—individually and for the team—the best achievement in our career by far." said Djokovic.
Serbia will celebrate. They are only the fourth nation since 1972 to lose the doubles match in a final , yet go on to clinch the title.
The tie, however, ended on a low with the French captain Guy Forget terming sections of the crowd “imbeciles” for whistling and distracting Llodra when serving.
"We heard whistles when the French team was serving and when the ball was in the air. It was only a small minority but it really is intolerable," said Forget.
"We have to take measures against this kind of thing. You don’t see it in other Davis Cup meetings, even in South America, where God knows some fans are chauvinistic and very borderline.
When you play against your opponents as well as imbeciles in the stadium, it’s very tiring. I hope something is done as most of the people here were wonderful."
India will not be too happy because they face the defending champions in March next year in the first round of the World Group. The tie will be played in Belgrade once more. A double whammy!
The Indo-Pak express of Quresihi and Bopanna continue to draw attention to their work towards amity between the two nations. They were honored with a Peace and Sport award this week.
Maria Sharapova will play for Russia next year in the Federation Cup.
The team event is the women’s version of the Davis Cup. Italy are the defending champions , defeating the US in the final 3-1 this year to make it three times in five years.
Samantha Stosur was not to be left out of the awards bonanza.
The Australian was honored with the inaugural John Newcombe Medal for being the country’s most outstanding player this year.
Quote of the day:
Parents should be given only a modest and sensible allowance. And they should be encouraged to save up for things. This builds character. It also helps pay for the funeral.