Novak Djokovic has set his sights on leading Serbia to glory in the Davis Cup final following his successful defence of the ATP World Tour Finals.
Djokovic won the prestigious season-ending Tour Finals for the third time with a dominant 6-3, 6-4 victory over World No 1 Rafael Nadal at the O2 Arena in London. The 26-year-old has played some of the best tennis of his life since losing the US Open final against Nadal in September and Monday’s win was his 22nd successive match victory — a run that has brought him titles in Beijing, Shanghai, Paris and London.
No holiday, yet
But, although Djokovic could be forgiven for wanting a well-earned holiday after such an intense period, the World No 2 has no time to rest on his laurels because he will now fly to home to Belgrade to prepare for the Davis Cup final clash against holders Czech Republic, which starts on Friday.
Serbia last won the Davis Cup in 2010 and Djokovic would dearly love to repeat that triumph. “It’s a fact that it’s been a very long season for me and I’m exhausted in every way. But God knows if we’re going to have as a country another opportunity like this to win a Davis Cup title at home,” Djokovic said.
A year of setbacks
Once Djokovic has finished with his national service, he will finally be able to put his feet up and reflect on a year that brought him joy and despair in equal measure. After winning the Australian Open for the fourth time in January, he suffered a semi-final loss to Nadal at the French Open which was followed by a Wimbledon final defeat against Andy Murray and another loss to Nadal in the US Open.
To a less mentally tough character, those setbacks could have been devastating, but for Djokovic they have simply provided the motivation for his late-season resurgence.
“Next to the run that I had in 2011, this is definitely the second best I’ve had,” Djokovic said. “For me, the most positive thing is the fact that I managed to regroup after a few big losses to Nadal, especially at Roland Garros and the US Open final.
“After that I needed to take things slowly and analyse what I did wrong in the matches against him, to understand what I need to do in order to win against him. I’ve worked harder and become an even more skillful player. I’ve worked on a few things in my game and serve. I think the results are showing that we had a great improvement in the last two and a half months.”
Nadal will finish the year as the World No 1, but Djokovic has won their last two encounters and he is confident of recapturing his position as the sport’s preeminent force in 2014. “This can serve as a great platform for 2014 season. I’m extra-motivated and inspired to work on my game and get ready for the Australian Open in January,” he said.