World no. 1 Novak Djokovic will not lead Serbia in the Davis Cup Qualifiers first round against Slovakia at the beginning of February. The Davis Cup tie comes right after the Australian Open, and Djokovic opted to skip it, unwilling to travel across the globe and play on clay.
Novak played three matches for Serbia at the United Cup in Perth, scoring two wins but experiencing a right wrist injury. Djokovic ousted Zhizhen Zhang in the first match before feeling the pain against Jiri Lehecka. The Serb overpowered the young gun in sets one and three, emerging over the top and setting the quarter-final clash versus Alex de Minaur.
The home favorite proved too strong for Novak, beating him 6-4, 6-4 and sending his country in front against Serbia. Djokovic required constant massages on his troubled wrist, struggling with his serve and forehand and never facing a break point.
Novak will try to fix the issue with his hand by the Australian Open, seeking his 11th crown at Melbourne Park.
As was expected, the Davis Cup is outside Novak's focus, focusing on a Major event.
Djokovic set his eyes on the Davis Cup trophy in the season behind us, leading Serbia in three singles rubbers but failing to send his country into the final. Novak led Spain right after the US Open and beat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in straight sets.
The Serb faced Cameron Norrie in the quarter-final tie and earned a 6-4, 6-4 victory in an hour and 41 minutes, helping Serbia reach the semi-final. Novak celebrated his 44th Davis Cup win, writing history and becoming Serbia's most decorated player.
Djokovic served well, losing eight points in his games and sending the pressure to the other side. Norrie denied ten out of 12 break points, giving his best but getting broken once in each set to push Djokovic over the top.
Novak grabbed a break at 2-2 in the opening set, landing a volley winner and forging the advantage.
Novak Djokovic will not compete for Serbia at the Davis Cup vs. Slovakia.
Cameron saved four break points at 1-4, staying within one break deficit before Novak wrapped up the set with a volley winner in game ten for 6-4 and a boost.
Norrie sprayed a forehand error at the beginning of the second set, getting broken at love and facing more issues at 1-3. Djokovic squandered five break points that could have sent him over the top earlier. However, the Serb served well and fired an ace in the tenth game for a comfortable win.
Novak had a massive chance to push his team into the title clash, facing Jannik Sinner in the second rubber and earning three match points in the final set's tenth game. The Italian denied them and prevailed 6-2, 2-6, 7-5, keeping his country in contention ahead of the doubles rubber.
Jannik produced his A-game in the opening set, serving well and outplaying Novak on the return. Djokovic missed a volley in the third game, falling 2-1 behind and facing more issues at 1-3. Sinner tamed Djokovic's initial shot on an indoor court and fired a backhand down the line winner for his second consecutive break and a 4-1 advantage.
Jannik served for the opener at 5-2 and produced a hold at love with an ace, wrapping up the opener after 37 minutes. Novak raised his level in the second set, losing four points in his games and challenging Jannik to repeat those numbers.
The veteran broke the young gun two times and forced a decider. Djokovic forged the lead with a break in game four after Sinner's costly double fault. Novak produced a hold at love in game five after Jannik's loose backhand, controlling the pace and holding after deuce with an ace down the T line in game seven for 5-2.
Djokovic forced Sinner's mistake on the return in game eight for set points. The Italian denied them and squandered a game point that could have prolonged the set. Djokovic earned the third set point and seized it after Sinner's forehand error, wrapping up the set and forcing a decider after 80 minutes.
They fought nicely in the second game, embracing seven deuces and a break point for Novak. Jannik denied it with a booming serve and brought the game home with another for a vital hold and 1-1.
Djokovic kept everything under control in his games, holding at 15 in game seven for 4-3. Sinner netted a forehand in the eighth game, offering Djokovic a break point. The Italian denied it with a forehand drive-volley winner, producing another vital hold to boost his chances.
The Serb left that chance behind and held at love in game nine with a powerful forehand. Jannik served to stay in the match at 4-5 and offered Novak three match points after a volley error at the net. Standing one point from propelling Serbia into the final, Djokovic squandered the first with a backhand slice error.
The young gun defended the next two with winners, getting out of jail and firing two service winners for a crucial hold and 5-5. Novak netted a routine backhand in the 11th game and experienced a break point. Sinner landed a forehand down the line winner, securing a break and serving for the victory at 6-5.
Jannik created two match points with an ace down the T line and seized the first with a service winner, celebrating one of his career-best triumphs.