In press conference ahead of the Davis Cup final against Russia, Novak Djokovic couldn't do anything but speak about the epic Australian Open final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal that saw the Swiss player prevailing 6-3 in the fifth set.
The world no. 2 was aware that Roger could play very well despite it was the first tournament in six months for him. 'I am not surprised that Federer won the title because you can always expect him to play at the highest level when he is fit,' said Djokovic. 'He was side-lined by injury for six months but having entered the tournament fresh and fit, he played outstanding tennis and I can only congratulate him. The final between him and Nadal was the one of sport's hallmarks of the year, going beyond tennis itself, as it’s been one of the greatest rivalries of all time.
Nadal, too, played very well and they both showed why they are great champions on and off the court. It was a massive boost for tennis any way you look at it.' Djokovic also spoke about Davis Cup is important for him. 'I am overjoyed to be back among these guys as we are all close friends and it’s a very special atmosphere every time we get together.
Russia are a young and motivated team and we must not underestimate them under any circumstances. I have never played here in Nis but I heard that it’s a great atmosphere so I am looking forward to it.' He finally praised Nenad Zimonjic on being captain and player in this tie.
'I want to thank Zimonjic for taking on a dual role and I hope that we will enjoy lots of success under him. I also have to thank [Bogdan] Obradovic for the many great moments we enjoyed with him and we must not forget the success we’ve had during his spell in charge.' Zimonjic aims for a great result this year in his first year as captain: 'We are back at full strength, bar Janko Tipsarevic whose priority at the moment is to improve his ATP ranking, hence we want to make the most of it and win the title again in the next few years.
Hopefully this season if we can. This is my last season in the Davis Cup as a player and in any case I will avoid taking on a dual player-coach role as much as I can. It so happens that I’ve picked myself to play against Russia because it was the obvious choice but it will in all likelihood be my last appearance for my country.' The 40-year-old Serbian doubles player also spoke about Djokovic's early loss at the Australian Open to Denis Istomin.
According to Zimonjic, it's not a worrying defeat: 'People tend to forget that favourites used to crash out of major events in the early stages quite regularly before Federer and Nadal, followed by Djokovic and Murray, took centre stage.
We must also remember that Novak plays for his country more regularly than any of his biggest rivals and he deserved the credit and fan support for the selfless commitment to his country. He has done Serbia proud with all his accomplishments.' ALSO READ: Roger Federer: 'I will play for a couple more years, that's why I took six months off'