Following that heartbreaking loss to Russia at the Davis Cup Finals in November, Novak Djokovic was ready to give his 120% and fix the error at the inaugural ATP Cup in January. World no. 2 had to fly to Australia earlier than expected, finding his A-game and scoring six singles and two doubles victories to lead Serbia towards the title over Spain last Saturday.
After a tight triumph over Kevin Anderson in two tie breaks, Novak ousted Gael Monfils and Cristian Garin to carry his country into the quarter-final from Group A, moving to Sydney and standing among the title favorites after some rock-solid wins from Dusan Lajovic as well.
In the quarters, Novak ousted Denis Shapovalov in the third set tie break after two hours and 40 minutes, needing even more time to take down Daniil Medvedev in one of the best matches of the event. Advancing into the final, Serbia lost the opening point against Spain when Roberto Bautista Agut toppled Lajovic, leaving Novak with no room for errors against world no.
1 Rafael Nadal in the second singles encounter. Inspired to give his best in the national jersey, Novak ousted Rafa to keep Serbia alive, stepping on the court again in the deciding doubles with Viktor Troicki to overpower Pablo Carreno Busta and Feliciano Lopez, delivering the title for the national squad and gathering a massive boost ahead of Melbourne.
While addmiting it took a lot of energy out of him, Novak describes the ATP Cup title as one of the highlights of his career, always playing with passion and heart in the red jersey. Feeling a little bit tired but confident, Djokovic will chase the eighth Australian Open title in the next two weeks, seeking more magic on the beloved Australian ground and another notable crown in his cabinet.
"I spent a lot of physical and emotional energy en route to the ATP Cup crown, winning all the matches in both singles and doubles for a perfect outcome. Winning the title with my teammates is definitely one of the highlights of my career.
Lifting the team trophy with my friends and under the national colors is definitely something that I cherish and that fulfills me truly. It was a phenomenal couple of weeks and a great lead-up to the Australian Open but it also did take a lot out of me.
I did adjust my training sessions towards that and had a little bit more recuperation rather than just stepping on the accelerator a little bit more."