Djokovic, Serbia the Favorites Against France in Davis Cup Final
by Sean Randall | December 3rd, 2010, 12:56 am
  • 50 Comments

We are just hours from the start of the all-unseeded Davis Cup final between host Serbia and France, and it’s a good one. The Serbs are led by their ace Novak Djokovic while France will have the services of the flamboyant Gael Monfils.

With the No. 1 singles positions easily set for both countries, the coaches made some curious picks for No. 2. Serbia bypassed the big-serving and recent Moscow winner Viktor Troicki in favor of the feisty Janko Tipsarevic. Even more mystifying was Guy Forget’s choice to go with Gilles Simon over Michael Llodra who played so well last month in Paris where he beat Djokovic.

Said Forget, “It’s always a tough choice to choose someone because you let someone down. I expect Gilles to play a great match against Novak. I expect Michael to play great doubles with Arnaud. They’ve done so many times in the past.

“In my opinion, that was the best choice for the French team. The Sunday matches probably will count. That leaves me probably some more options doing it this way.”

Had I been the coach, I would have taken Troicki over Tipsy and Llodra over Simon. Indoors and in tense Davis Cup matches I’d lean on guys with big serves like Troicki and Llodra because they are so hard to break. It’s a pressure cooker and guys with the bigger serves tend to weather the storm just a little better.

However, Tipsy did win two matches in the semifinals and Simon is a former Top 10 player so I do see the angle. And if the court is slow and Llodra needs the rest for doubles maybe it turns out to be the difference.

The coaching selections dictate an opening Friday schedule in Belgrade that has Tipsarevic hooking up with Monfils followed by Djokovic against Simon.

The Saturday doubles looks like Nenad Zimonjic/Vicktor Troicki v. Arnuad Clement/Michael Llodra.

And if necessary, the Sunday reverse singles schedule has Djokovic against Monfils then – subject to change – Tipsarevic v. Simon in the finale.

As for the tie itself, I like the home team of Serbia to get through. I think Janko will get a win, maybe even tomorrow, and then Djokovic should sweep his singles despite his formidable opposition. Simon’s been a tough player and Monfils has really come on the last half of the season. But Simon doesn’t have the firepower to hang with Novak and I still question Monfils’ ability in best-of-5 set matches.

“We’re all very excited and can’t wait for the first point to start,” Djokovic said Thursday. “Hopefully [the home support] will be an advantage for us over our opponents. We are all in good shape, physically and mentally fresh to perform our best tennis. Simon is always a tricky opponent to play against. You cannot underestimate any opponent in the final; you have to be on top of your game to win.”

The good news for Novak is that he’s never lost a Davis Cup match in the Belgrade Arena (5-0). Bad news for France is that Monfils has never won an away tie!

Said Monfils, “I think the pressure I have on my back will for sure help me to forget the crowd is against me. I will see how I will react, but I will be natural so if I have to let my emotions out I will.”

I’m not sure how smart Monfils would be to rile up the 12,000 plus fired-up fans in the Serbian capital, but it should be entertaining.

“I know Janko,” said Monfils. “He will be very nervous because he plans to come out first on the court in front of the Serbian crowd. It will be tough for him. I will try to be very relaxed and just play my game.”

Janko fired back, “If Gael thinks I’m going to be more nervous than him in front of 18,000 Serbs he better think again.”

Another edge for the home team is that the four Serbs have been teammates in all four ties this year which should make for some strong team unity.

That said, in the doubles I still give the edge to France. Llodra and Clement have been tough through the years and they have the experience.

And incredibly, France has yet to lose a live rubber on the year. The talented team blew out Germany 4-1, Spain 5-0 and Argentina 5-0 to reach their 16th final with a shot at 10th overall win.

Of course Serbia had never been to a Davis Cup final before this year, but I think come Monday they’ll be celebrating their first title.

“It’s the first time that we are playing Davis Cup final at home in the history of this sport in our country,” said Djokovic. “You can feel the excitement and the interest of the people to come and cheer, you know, their tennis players. It’s going to be, well, crucial for us to have big support because it’s very unpredictable what’s going to happen in the matches because I think they have a very strong team. But the support of the crowd can actually play a key role in this match.”

The tie is on live Friday morning on the Tennis Channel at 8am ET.


Also Check Out:
2012 Davis Cup Draw: US Travels to Switzerland, Spain the Favorites Again?
Serbia, France Level in Davis Cup Finale; Will Djokovic Play Doubles?
2011 Davis Cup Draw: US Must Travel to Chile
Davis Cup Playoffs: Serbia Goes To India, Spain Travels To Brazil
Djokovic, Team Goes Bald as Serbia Celebrates First Davis Cup Title [Video]

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50 Comments for Djokovic, Serbia the Favorites Against France in Davis Cup Final

jane Says:

Thank you Sean! Ajde!! Allez! Let’s have a good final. I hope your prediction streak stays on track.


Swiss Maestro Says:

YAWN!

when are the fedal exhibitions? DC format sucks. you can bet your house that murray will never be even in the semi-finals of this stupid thing.


Eric Says:

Where is the mystery?

Llodra had one great tournament in his entire career; Simon is a former top-tenner who has beaten Nadal and Federer and is on his way back up.

Llodra is a doubles specialist; Simon isn’t.

Llodra is old; Simon is young.

Seems like a pretty obvious pick to me. No reason to think Llodra would be able to repeat his Paris show, especially since he is a no-brainer for the doubles and might be too tired to do singles too.

As for the Serbians, I guess they went with Tipsarevic’s overall experience edge, but I agree it’s a slightly strange choice, this hasn’t been his best season.


Nina Says:

I’m fretting already!
Me thinks Djoko is building up too much pressure on himself. I know everybody thinks Nole’s matches are a done deal, but anything could happen really. I don’t even want to imagine what could happen if he loses one match. I’d better don’t go there. Keep postive. Ajde Nole! Ajde Serbia!
Tipsy is on…


scineram Says:

Well, Tipsarevic is missing. A lot.


Nina Says:

Things are getting levelled. Good.
Go Tipsy!!!


dari Says:

Awww, too bad on the missed break opportunity for tipsy, but that was a thin line chance anyway.
Nina, I’m feeling your concern with novak/Serbia, but I really do think the Serbs will pull through.
Adje srbija!
ps, does live rubber just mean the last match when they are tied or what?


jane Says:

Yes, this is a much better second set for Tipsy; if he could get this match, by some miracle, it would be huge!! I am fretting too Nina. France have a really good shot at this title. I don’t know that either Tipsy or Troicki are up to the challenge?? Which, as you say, puts quite a lot of pressure on Nole. Also, I agree with Sean that France will likely get the doubles.

Come on Tipsy – fight. He needs to remember that he beat Roddick at the USO. Surely he can beat Gael if he gets in the zone like he was then??


dari Says:

Geeze what nerve serve preparation from.Gael! And the serve was in!


dari Says:

The umpire should not have granted that an ace.


jane Says:

Yes, this indoor hard really gives advantage to the server. Gael’s serving has been strong.


jane Says:

Gutsy play play Tipsy in this tiebreak; some excellent points at net!


jane Says:

Ah, but Monfils wipes it with what is essentially an ace. So tough to break him right now, as he showed in Paris.


Nina Says:

Oh God, I can’t watch this. I’m so sorry for Tipsy, he was playing gutsy but Monfils is too much Monfils.
If he loses this one, the pressure on Nole will be huge. But he’s used to playing under pressure against much bigger enemies, right? So I’m confident he will win both his matches. Sadly not everything depends on him.
Let’s stay positive. GO TIPSY! GO NOLE! GO SERBIA!


scineram Says:

This is over. Gael is impressive. Janko not so much.


i am it Says:

In semifinal, Tipsy was the hero. Today, he’s lost most of what he earned in his career, in the eyes of many Srbijan.
How can you take a bagel for your beloved country?
After an humiliating loss, I guess you can call him a nutcase. Is not that how humans behave?


stu Says:

uh oh. they’re checking Nole’s eyes?


i am it Says:

Everything will come down to the doubles now. Whoever wins it will probably win the DC.


stu Says:

i wonder whether they will play viktor against simon/llodra…


jane Says:

Yes, not good news for Serbia, imo. Puts them under the gun, Nole especially. I don’t know why they’re considered the faves by a lot of pundits when we consider both Monfils and Simon have been in the top ten, whereas Troicki and Tipsy never even near it. Plus, the French have a stronger doubles team and more depth. Plus, the French have 9 titles and Serbia have never even been to a final. plus, as Sean himself points out “France has yet to lose a live rubber on the year. The talented team blew out Germany 4-1, Spain 5-0 and Argentina 5-0 to reach their 16th final with a shot at 10th overall win.” Of course Nole and home court are helpful and key for the Serbs. But if I weigh all the pros and cons I actually see Serbia as underdogs in this. I know Zimonjic is a great doubles player but neither Troicki nor Tipsy are. I know it’s not over until it’s over, but I am just trying to be realistic.


dari Says:

What’s a live rubber, exactly?


Swiss Maestro Says:

dari Says:

” ps, does live rubber just mean the last match when they are tied or what? ”

live rubber is any match before the “tie” is lost. so the 4th match after a team wins 3-0 or 5th match when a team is already 3-1 up are not live rubbers. infact, they are called dead rubbers.

hope i have not confused you.


stu Says:

A “dead” rubber is one for which the outcome doesn’t matter. In a best-of-5 competition, if one team is leading 3-1, it does not matter whether they win (4-1) or lose (3-2) the last rubber because they will win the tie in either case. Any rubber that’s not dead is live :). Dead rubbers are played because the crowds have paid to see the matchup (i think).


Swiss Maestro Says:

to be more clear, first 3 matches in any daviscup tie are live rubbers. when one team wins 3-1 there are only 4 live rubbers. when one team wins 3-2, all 5matches are live rubbers.


dari Says:

Hole, nole! Let’s convert, novak. Tough stuff from simon, though, he is not just rolling over. I like both these guys.


jane Says:

dari, I think (?) it means any match that still counts towards a win. So hypothetically, if France wins doubles and then the next singles match as well, then the last match would be a “dead rubber” in that France would’ve already won.


jane Says:

I see others have already answered. dari, I like the Frenchies too, but because Nole is playing, I am supporting Serbia. I really enjoy watching Monfils and Simon, and Llodra was fabulous in France.

Nole – good break! He really hung in there for that one. :)


Duro Says:

Is that Nole’s serve back, or not? Oh my… Firing like in the old days.


Duro Says:

Is that Nole’s serve back or not? Oh my… Firing like in the old days…


dari Says:

Thanks guys, got it. It doesn’t have to be the LAST 2-2 rubber, just ANY rubber that the winner hasn’t already been decided.


dari Says:

ouch, nole, on these match points!


jane Says:

Um, close it out Nole? Ugh! Break back point.


stu Says:

Wow what happened? I went to lunch at 3-1 thinking okay, he’s got it…


jane Says:

Nole was serving for it at 5-4 and Simon broke back, with some help from Nole, in one case with a badly timed dropper that didn’t make it over the net. Brain fart? I think that’s what someone called them recently. But then Nole broke right back. Let’s hope Nole closes it out this time!!


jane Says:

Phew, Nole makes it 1 all. I think i am it is right; probably whichever team wins doubles will win the title. Hard to say, I guess, providing Nole gets by Monfils, maybe Tipsy (or Troicki?) has a chance in the final rubber, depending who France play. Monfils is playing very well though; Nole will have his hand full. Gael served extremely well versus Tipsy.


Polo Says:

I agree that whoever wins the doubles will most likely take the title. On paper, Simon should beat Tipsarevic. But Monfils vs Djokovic is no guarantee for the latter considering how Monfils has been playing lately. My pick for the title is France.


Nina Says:

Spanish commentators saying Obradovic should use Djoko for doubles. What do you think?
Nole is serving pretty well and even if he today was nervous when he tried to close the match, he was very solid and serious.


Nina Says:

Polo

No way Nole is going to lose any of his matches. NO WAY.


jane Says:

Nina, it could be a little exhausting for Nole to play singles, doubles and singles. Unless they save him for the final rubber? I don’t know. It’s tough as they don’t have a solid doubles “team” and/or a lot of depth. France are set that way. Monfils can rest, and Llodra and Clement are both very good at doubles. I wouldn’t want to be the Serbian coach.


dari Says:

man, this is really tough. nole keeps it even today, but monfils is really playing well here at the end of the season.
if obradovic does put nole in doubles, is that really much more of a guarantee of a win there?
you have nenad, doubles superstar, but will troicki be enough of a partner against two very solid french doubles players and with llodra particularly hot? what’s troicki’s doubles history? i know he has a title…

can we safely say that nenad and djokovic will not be beat?
i think so, but then will novak be too tired and lose to monfils? do you really want the title resting on tipsy?
or do you just put nole in wherever he can go, cause even a rested nole could lose against monfils the way gael is playing lately, and things may really hinge on that doubles win?

i guess its a good thing i like both teams a lot, cause if this were switzerland/spain where I had clear-cut, unshakable affinity, i would be having one more year-end tennis heart attack.

o the drama of davis cup!


Nina Says:

Dari…

In my opinion Djoko has the experience and fierce determination to win that they rest of the team doesn’t seem to have. He wants this title so badly that he will make the extra effort and sacrifice, even if that means he will be exhausted after it. But I think maybe Novak-Nenad have more chances than Troicky… I know doubles is not his speciality but Novak is the #3 in the world, he can cope with anything that is thrown at him.


jane Says:

Nina, didn’t Nole play doubles in the semis with Nenad and lose? I believe so. And then he won his next singles and Tipsy won again. So there are no guarantees putting Nole in for doubles, imo. And it could tire him out and cost him the match versus la Monf. But it’s a very tough call.


Duro Says:

First of all, why should tomorrow’s match decide the winner? It didn’t decide it last match in Belgrade Arena when The Czechs led 2:1. Another thing, Zimonjić and Novak lost, but Zimonjić played an unusually bad match and it’s very hard to believe that he will do it so again. There is an option for Nole to play tomorrow, of course, but as long as it is risky considering he would have to play 3 matches in 3 days, on the other hand the doubles match do not wear you that much, so… I personally think that considering Janko’s performance, Viktor is going to play Sunday, and especially if Novak plays tomorrow. Viktor would be completely fresh in that case and in nice position to win against Simon.

Finally I think this: Novak will play tomorrow, Zimonjić will be impeccable, Serbia will win the doubles, Novak will, in every possible case (I’m positive he won’t be tired after doubles) beat Monfills Sunday and Troicki even doesn’t have to (but will) play. If, by any case, Serbia lose doubles, Novak and Viktor will win both.


i am it Says:

Polo says: “On paper, Simon should beat Tipsarevic. But Monfils vs Djokovic is no guarantee for the latter considering how Monfils has been playing lately. My pick for the title is France.”

If Monfils vs Djokovic is no guarantee, then the same can be said of Tipsy vs. Simon. On paper, Djoko and Simon should ease through.
I am not doubting either of them.
=======
Elaboration on my earlier post:
You cannot play Troicki against Simon, who leads 8 sets to none in 4 meetings.
Troicki cannot take a set off of Monfils.
Nole cannot win doubles, even if he paired w/ Bryan bro.
For these reasons, doubles winner will take the DC home. So, Serbia’s fate is left to Z-man and Troicki/Tipsy.
France also faces the same situation. They will have to win the doubles to have a chance to play the 5th rubber. If they get there, they will win.

Nole will win 2 singles. That’s all you can ask from him.
========
Serbia has the option to change doubles team, up to an hour before the match starts.

“Well, it’s open,” said Djokovic.

“We’ll discuss it tonight and find the best possible solution and see what we’re going to do about that.

“Definitely we need to try to get a win tomorrow. It’s going to be very important for us to get a 2-1 lead going into the last two matches.”

I think they should stick with the current selections.


sar Says:

Nole came through but will the others? We’ll know tomorrow. Nenad must win. I consider Serbia to be the underdogs.


Duro Says:

What’s wrong with you, people! Sar, underdogs!? And all because of Tipsy? Three more good players and I don’t think Tipsy will play anymore.

i am it, my analyzing friend… Why can’t you play Troicki against Simon!? Simon is not a half of the player he used to be. Ranked 48, 49 now? I know it’s because of the rehabilitation and that he’s coming back, but Viktor is in fine form and he can surely beat him, in Belgrade especially. He was not so good last time, Tipsy was, but look at Tipsy now. It’s Viktor’s turn to shine now.

Nole cannot win doubles!? Wanna bet? I said that Nenad screwed up last time, but not again. He’s too good to repeat it.

I think that Serbia should not stick to current selection, that Serbia’s best chance is to choose Novak to play tomorrow with Zimonjić, Sunday against Gael and to swap Janko with Viktor. That’s the most probable winning scenario for Serbia how I see it.


stu Says:

Viktor has not won a single set in the 4 times he has played against Simon. I think it is pretty much a given that the last rubber will go to France, unless they play Tipsa and he is extremely fired up (altho winning the last rubber for the team twice in a row might be too much of an ask for him).

I agree Duro, that Novak will play the doubles tomorrow. I get the feeling the Serbs will win the doubles. Not sure about Nole – Monfils…


Nina Says:

On Nole’s website…

The doubles match is scheduled on Saturday at 15:00 CET. Serbian duo Nenad Zimonjic and Viktor Troicki face Michael Llodra and Arnaud Clement.

On Sunday at 13:00 CET world no.3 Novak Djokovic plays against Gael Monfils. The second match sees Tipsarevic take on Simon.

Team captains have the right to change the players until an hour before the match.
____

I also think Novak should play doubles. I dunno, he’s the guy with the winning experience and fire in his eyes, he has been in this kind of situation before. The only thing that can come in his way is his anxiety to win. This DC final seems make or break for him… I hope I’m wrong.

Last thing we Nole fans need is another shit season.

But I still see Serbia winning. There will be tears and blood in the arena.


jane Says:

Interesting piece by Bodo:

http://espn.go.com/sports/tennis/blog/_/name/bodo_peter/id/5879184/just-breathe

Nina a few people seem to agree with you or at least think it’s likely that the Serbs will put Nole in for doubles:

http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/04122010/2/tennis-djokovic-outside-chance-play-davis-cup-doubles.html


sar Says:

Duro,I think they are the underdogs because it’s their first time and France’s 10 time. I wish I had your optimism.

The crowd needs to help them more tomorrow and I will be sending them energy.

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