Heading into the clash with Kazakhstan, Novak Djokovic praised likely singles rival Alexander Bublik, who shone in the group stage with a pair of wins over Canada's Vasek Pospisil and Sweden's Mikael Ymer. He also pointed out that the stalwart Mikhail Kukushkin, who will turn 34 in December, would stand as formidable opposition to Serbia's number two player in the other singles, with Dusan Lajovic and Filip Krajinovic as the leading candidates for the task.
"Kazakhstan is probably the most underrated team in the Davis Cup," said Djokovic. “They won their group and they have Bublik that he is a strong player, he has a great serve and is not afraid to take risks. He can be very dangerous on this surface and has performed at a very high level in the Group Stage.
I am sure that he will feel that he has nothing to lose against me and will do his best to win. Kukushkin, on the other hand, is a seasoned veteran who has won many crucial matches for his country. We have different options as to who will be our second individual player in the tie." Serbia, winner of the competition in 2010 and runner-up in 2013, reached the quarter-finals as one of the top two runners-up, at the expense of champion Spain, who they beat with a marginally higher overall balance of wins and losses in sets.
Rusedski speaks about the Big 3
Former World No. 4 Greg Rusedski believes Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will have a tough time when they return to the tour due to the rise of young players like Alexander Zverev and Daniil Medvedev.
"You’re talking about the younger generation, they’re here now," Rusedski told the Daily Express. "I mean, out of the big three it’s really the big one left which is Novak Djokovic who doesn’t seem to be going anywhere quite yet.
It’s harder for Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal now because Medvedev, Zverev, Tsitsipas, those guys are starting to believe. They’ve come very, very close," he said. "Medvedev finally beat Djokovic in a Grand Slam final, Tsitsipas was two-sets-to-love up in the finals of the French when Novak came to win in five sets, and Berrettini was in the other final (Wimbledon) so we had no Federer, no Nadal, only Djokovic out of the Big Three in the finals of a Major this year which is very unusual and unheard of in the last decade," Rusedski said.