Davis Cup Previews: Novak Djokovic Withdraws, Austria Hosts France in Airplane Hanger

by Staff | March 2nd, 2011, 11:15 am

Novak Djokovic has announced that he will not play in Serbia’s upcoming first round Davis Cup tie against India this weekend. On his official website, the two-time Australian Open champion said he wanted to focus on Indian Wells and Miami.

“I feel physically well, fit, and mentally motivated to do even more coming up to Indian Wells and Miami where I haven’t done well in the last years. So I really want to work hard and get some good results in the US,” Djokovic said.

The defending champion Serbian team with Viktor Troicki and Janko Tipsarevic are still heavy favorites to beat India.

Djokovic is undefeated on the year at 12-0 after his win Saturday over Roger Federer in Dubai. The 23-year-old has won his last 14 matches as he closes in on the No. 2 ranking.

Davis Cup first round capsules courtesy of the ITF:

SERBIA v INDIA – Novi Sad, SRB – hard (indoors)
Head-to-head: first meeting (Please note that the head-to-head records between Yugoslavia and India were used to determine choice of ground for this tie. The series was level at 1-1).

Last year’s champion Serbia begins the defence of its title with a home tie against India. Serbia has won its last 6 home ties, all of which were played in Belgrade. Before the 2010 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas, Serbia had not won a World Group tie. India is bidding to advance to the World Group quarterfinals for the first time since 1996.

SWEDEN v RUSSIA – Boras, SWE – hard (indoors)
Head-to-head: Sweden leads 4-1
Russia won the last meeting between the two nations in the 2002 quarterfinal in Moscow.

Russia, which won the title in 2002 and 2006, travels to Boras to play 7-time champion Sweden. The Russians have only lost in the 1st round once in the last 10 years, while Sweden has lost in the opening round for the last 2 years.

– Ostrava, CZE – hard (indoors)
Head-to-head: first meeting

Kazakhstan is making its debut in the World Group after defeating Switzerland 5-0 in the World Group play-offs in Astana last September. The Kazakhs face 2009 runners-up Czech Republic for a chance to reach the quarterfinals. The Czechs, meanwhile, have nominated the current junior World No.1 Jiri Vesely on their team. The 17-year-old Czech won both the boys’ singles and doubles titles at this year’s Australian Open, becoming the first player to do so since Kristian Pless in 1999.

– Buenos Aires, ARG – clay (outdoors)
Head-to-head: Argentina leads 1-0
A meeting between 2 of the 3 nations who hold the unwanted record (alongside India) of having reached the Davis Cup Final the most times without winning the title. Despite both nations having played Davis Cup since the 1920s, this is only their second meeting. Argentina won the last encounter 3-2 in the World Group quarterfinals in 1981. The winner of this tie will have home advantage in the quarterfinals against the winner of Czech Republic v Kazakhstan.

Argentina and Romania meet in Buenos Aires in a clash between 2 of the 3 nations that hold the record for having reached the Davis Cup Final the most times without winning the title. Both nations, as well as India, have appeared in 3 Davis Cup Finals without once winning the trophy.

– Santiago, CHI – clay (outdoors)
Head-to-head: USA leads 4-0

USA must overcome Chile in Santiago if Jim Courier is to make a winning start to his new captaincy. The tie is also notable for the return of Andy Roddick to Davis Cup. The big-serving American is second behind only John McEnroe in terms of singles rubbers won by American players in Davis Cup.

– Charleroi, BEL – hard (indoors)
Head-to-head: Spain leads 2-1

Spain is looking to reach the quarterfinals for the 5th straight year when it travels to Charleroi to play Belgium. The Spanish have nominated three Top 10 players (Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer and Fernando Verdasco).

CROATIA v GERMANY – Zagreb, CRO – hard (indoors)
Head-to-head: Germany leads 2-1
A 4th World Group 1st round meeting between these two nations. Tommy Haas led Germany to victory the last time they met, winning both his singles rubbers against Mario Ancic and Ivan Ljubicic in 2007 to give Germany a 3-2 victory. The 3 previous ties have been won by the home nation.

Germany and Croatia meet for a 4th time in the World Group 1st round. In their 3 previous meetings, the home team has always won.

AUSTRIA v FRANCE – Vienna, AUT – clay (indoors)
Head-to-head: France leads 7-0
The Austrians have only ever won one live rubber against France (Hans Kary defeated Francois Jauffret 75 61 97 in 1974). In 7 previous meetings, the Austrians have won just 3 rubbers in total. The last time the two nations met, France won 5-0 and lost just one set.

Austria plays host to last year’s runners-up, France, in a tie that is being played in an aircraft hangar. Austria has never defeated France in 7 previous match-ups.

The first round of Davis Cup begins on Friday.

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6 Comments for Davis Cup Previews: Novak Djokovic Withdraws, Austria Hosts France in Airplane Hanger

jane Says:

Good: I’m happy Nole is not playing. Last year, after winning Dubai he went straight to Serbia and played Isner (and I think Querrey too) on clay; then he went straight back to hardcourts at IW, where I don’t think he did too well – he lost to Ljub, mind you, who was playing amazingly well and won the whole tournament at a result. Seems to me neither the Americans nor the Serbians who played the DC did well at Miami or IW. It’s just a case of jet lag, surfaces changes, and over-extending themselves. Lots might depend on Viktor, though, as Janko is coming off that final at Del Ray. Anyhow, just glad Djok decided to rest a bit.

stu Says:

Yes, jane. India might take the doubles tie, but Viktor and Janko should not have a hard time beating the Indian singles players ranked what 100 and 600?

I wonder if there is a sense of resentment among the players themselves when a higher ranked player (Nole in this case, or Rafa in the past for Spain) is allowed to not play when their participation is not crucial to the tie. Both Serbia and Spain have players in their teams who are capable of, on a good day, doing really well in a Masters tournament. It seems to me a big sacrifice to make. Nole’s went beyond the call of duty last year, so maybe it’s okay for him to skip one tie, but VIktor and Janko (and Ferrer/ Verdasco/ FLo) have their own goals for the year as well….

Skeezerweezer Says:

I agree this is a good decision. Look, he did his bit for country and they won it all, he is now playing his best tennis ever. His game is a great place right now and the #2 ranking is within grasp….time for some “Nole time”.

Al Says:

Exciting time for Nole fans. :)

margot Says:

jane, kimmi, nina, only place to post this, but on page 548 of Murray’s World pictures, there a gr8 pic of Maggie Mae joining Andy on the physio table :)

Dory Says:

Very wise decision. Time to get more majors this year Nole.

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