Novak Djokovic took a moment to express his gratitude to the Spanish crowd after Serbia concluded their Davis Cup Finals group stage campaign in Valencia. After clinching back-to-back 3-0 wins over South Korea and Spain in Group C, Serbia suffered a 0-3 loss to the Czech Republic in their last tie - in which Djokovic didn't play in singles but played just in doubles since Serbia already sealed a place for the Davis Cup Final 8.
Spain, who hosted Group C but didn't have Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal available, lost their first two ties and didn't come even close to winning their group. After Djokovic and Nikola Cacic suffered a three-set defeat to Tomas Machac and Adam Pavlasek, the world No 1 had a message for the crowd.
"Thank you to all the Spanish people for coming out today. Knowing that you don't have Spanish players playing and they still fill up the stadium and, you know, gave all of us a warm welcome. They made me feel at home," Djokovic said.
Djokovic defended Alcaraz's Davis Cup absence
Just three days after winning the US Open, Djokovic showed up in Valencia for Davis Cup action. On the other side, Alcaraz skipped the Davis Cup Finals because he needed a rest after the US Open.
Expectedly, Alcaraz's decision to skip the Davis Cup wasn't welcomed by some in Spain. “Maybe you guys are upset he’s not playing for Spain, because he’s 20 years old and I’m 36, and how he’s tired and I’m not.
It’s important to understand he’s got a lot of time ahead of him. He already played for Spain last year, you can’t forget that. He won the US Open last year and after a few days he was here playing for his heart and his passion for his country.
I have skipped the Davis Cup several times, I know the backlash and reaction from my country was not so great and there’s a lot of negativity when you skip playing for your country. It’s difficult to always be perfect and always available.
We’re part of an individual sport, you represent your country but also yourself and there are a lot of tournaments, and he has played a lot. Even though he’s 20 years old, it doesn’t mean he’s a Superman.
He needs to rest as well. It’s better for us, the Serbian team that he’s not here, honestly, but I’m sure he’ll be back and bring a lot of joy to Spain," Djokovic said.
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