Djokovic Debuts Own Tournament as Top Seed at Serbian Open

Posted on May 3, 2009

You know you've got pull as a player when you can buy a tournament and move it to your home country. That's what Novak Djokovic has done this week as the top seed at the Serbian Open in Belgrade.

The world No. 3 Serb is the only Top 20-ranked player among the seeds that include Ivo Karlovic, Igor Andreev, Andreas Seppi, Serb Viktor Troicki, Ivan Ljubicic, Arnaud Clement and Christophe Rochus.

The Top 4 seeds receive first-round byes, odd for a 32-player draw, but Djokovic could feature in a crowd-pleaser in his opening match if fellow Serb Janko Tipsarevic can top Argentine Sergio Roitman on the red clay.

Other opening-round matches of interest are the No. 4-seeded Troicki vs. American Sam Querrey, the No. 7 Clement vs. Steve Darcis (winner to potentially face Marcos Baghdatis in the next round), and a possible opener for the No. 2 Karlovic against Chilean Nicolas Massu. No. 6 Ljubicic also has a potential second-round meeting with Argentine grinder Guillermo Canas.

"Young people in Serbia have been deprived of travel and global entertainment during an era of conflict and the country's international isolation," Djokovic's uncle Goran Djokovic told Reuters. "We expect fans to throng to the newly-built courts in Belgrade and we have expanded the centre court capacity to 7,900 seats from 7,000 because of increased tickets demand...It took an incredible amount of energy, enthusiasm and investment from our own, personal funds, but Novak's ATP ranking and status was the key factor in putting it on the map."