Djokovic, Serbia Handle Nadal, Spain To Win ATP Cup
by Staff | January 12th, 2020, 1:47 pm

Novak Djokovic continued his hard court domination of rival Rafael Nadal, easing past the World No. 1 6-2, 7-6(4) in the final of the ATP Cup in Sydney.

Djokovic’s win, his 9th straight win over Rafa on hard courts (19 consecutive sets), leveled Serbia’s tie with Spain at 1-all.

While a tired Nadal opted out of the deciding doubles, Djokovic teamed with Viktor Troicki to defeat Nadal’s replacement Feliciano Lopez and Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 6-4.

In the doubles, Spain led 3-1 before Serbia took six straight games to pace the win.

“I’ll remember this experience for the rest of my life as definitely one of the nicest moments in my career,” Djokovic said. “I’ve been very fortunate and blessed to have an amazing career the last 15 years, but playing for the team, playing for the country with some of my best friends for a long long time, you can’t match that. That’s just too special.

“I’ve never experienced an atmosphere like this on a tennis court… You carried us to victory and we owe you a big, big thanks,” he added. “We are part of an individual sport where we play by ourselves. But even when we were playing singles it never felt like it was only you out there. You always have a team in your corner giving you strength and focus. This was the highlight of the competition, along with the support of fans and the flags.”

A dejected Nadal talked about the decision to sit for the doubles.

“I have been playing a lot of tennis the last couple of days,” Nadal said. “My teammates have been playing great yesterday. My level of energy is a little bit lower than usual, because I played long yesterday, very long before yesterday, very long in the last day,” Nadal said.

“So it’s a team decision, and we believe in our team. That’s why we had success in the past, because we were able to give the confidence to the rest of the players, and we give the confidence to Feliciano and Pablo.”

In the opening match of the tie, Roberta Bautista Agut got Spain on the board first with a 7-5, 6-1 win over Dusan Lajovic.

Djokovic then jumped out on Nadal early breaking in the opening game. Nadal had chances to break in the middle of the second, but never could get through as he finish 0-for-5 on break opportunities.

“I was trying to take away as much time as possible from him,” stated Djokovic. “I was serving very well, definitely the best serving match I had in the tournament. Just extremely satisfied with the way I performed.”

Djokovic heads to Melbourne as the clear favorite after six singles wins at the ATP Cup. Nadal, who made the final last year, goes in having lost two of his last three.

“I did the most difficult thing: changed a little bit the dynamic of the match after that first set. Happy the way that I was able to compete,” Nadal said.

“I had my chances. I was very close. Not happy with the loss, of course, but the feeling in that second set is positive.”

Serbia d Spain 2-1
R1: Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) d Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 75 61
R2: Novak Djokovic (SRB) d Rafael Nadal (ESP) 62 76(4)
R3: Novak Djokovic/Viktor Troicki (SRB) d Pablo Carreno Busta/Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 63 64

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39 Comments for Djokovic, Serbia Handle Nadal, Spain To Win ATP Cup

Paco Says:

Novak proved too strong for Nadal once again. At this point it is impossible for the spaniard to revert the H2H. It is a roller coaster down for him.

Wog Boy Says:

I watched part of Rafa’s press conference, he looked dejected and rattled.
The last sentence that you didn’t quote after he explained why he doesn’t play doubles mentioning his last couple of long matches was something like:

“……and I had long and tough matches in Brisbane.”

Commentator added..”Rafa is still confused after losing to Novak, he didn’t play in Brisbane, he played in Perth.”

Dave Says:


If I’m not mistaken, in 55 Matches against Nadal and 49 against Federer 103 have had the majority of the crowd against Nole. This is the first match that I can recall where the tables were turned. And look how Nadal handled it. I’m sure I’m not the first one to think this. But can you imagine how lopsided the head to heads between Djokovic against Federer and Nadal would be if you flipped those numbers the other way? Federer and Nadal would have struggled being the villians every time they played their main rival.

2nd thing I want to ask you. And please pardon my ignorance about this. Why are there so many Serbian people living in Australia? I don’t know the big connection. It’s super far away on the map. I’m just curious.

Wog Boy Says:

I am glad you said that and not me since you can put it in more diplomatic and sensible way than me. I can see this morning (here) that Nadal was bitching about fans, I am really surprised with him, he forgets that this is designed to be team competition with DC atmosphere and that’s exactly what we had, DC atmosphere of the home crowd, nothing less nothing more, it looks like him (and Shapovalov) were caught by surprise not expecting so many Serbian fans, they obviously haven’t done their homework;)

As for you second question, you are not ignorant, and I will try to explain best I can.
It was few waves of immigration from the Balkans (Serbia) to America, Canada and Australia.
I will stick with Australia, first big wave was after WW2, thaousands of Serbian war prisoners in Germany who were liberated in 1945. from concentration camps and prisons refused to return to Yugoslavia that became communist country and were resettled in America, Canada and Australia.
Australia was underpopulated and they open the borders for hundred of thousands of Europeans to come and settle here and they came, Italians, Greeks and Eastern Europeans.
Second wave was in 60s and 70s when pragmatic dictator Tito realised that unemployment is growing and he might have a problems so he gave everyone passports and open the borders, west was in need of not that educated people but hard workers and they got them.
I arrived in 80s, that was the period when they were in need of more qualified and academic immigrants (I am not academic, I am university dropout;)
Sorry for long introductions, we are now coming to the last and biggest wave, end of 90s until these days.
Majority of the crowd you’ve seen there are them, I personally would prefer if they were not there since they are the people who lost everything in civil war in former Yugoslavia, kicked out of their homes, villages, towns, de possessed, their houses and even cemeteries bulldozed, around 300.000 of them arrived in Serbia as refugees and then waited and applying in American, Canadian. Australian embassies to migrate, they did it proper way and payed their way to those countries, they were not jumping on the boats nor illegally crossing the borders!!!
I watched Serbia vs Canada on the ground and was watching those “bad” Serbians in the stands. They came to support Serbia not just Nole, from 7 years old to 77 years, entire families with kids, some women dressed even like they are going out, lot of those people never went back nor their kids will ever see Serbia or their old homeland where they were kicked out from. This was memory that will stay with them until the end and if anything I am thankful and grateful to the boys that gave them this title, trust me, you don’t have idea how much these few days means for these construction workers, tradies, drivers…90% hardworking ordinary blue collar people who appreciate boys for bringing them their homeland to Australia.
Last but not least, if this cup was played in Canada you would be surprised how much support Serbia would have there, not like in Sydney or Melbourne but close.
Sorry if I sounded pathetic but I love my people, particularly these ordinary, not fancy, people who were provided with pinnacle of their lives by the boys.

Wog Boy Says:

Dave, I did send you an answer, it long one, took me ages to write it down, but disappeared somewhere?
I’ll wait to see if it is going to appear if not I’ll send you another one later.
Meanwhile enjoy some of the atmosphere where I am going tonight to celebrate Julian New Year and Serbia winning cup, in the biggest Serbian club in the world, home of White Eagles soccer club, it will be madness, I can feel it now:

By the way, make sure you watch and listen, not just watching the singer in red.

Czarlazar Says:

Nadal’s post-match complaining about the pro-Serbian fans was unsportsmanlike and pathetic, and had everything to do with getting his ass kicked by the better hardcourt player — again. He said “…people from some countries, they probably don’t understand how the tennis goes.” I’m pretty sure most or all of the fans cheering for Serbia were Australian citizens, but doubt Nadal was dissing Aussie sports fans. Thinly-veiled bigotry aside, I didn’t hear him complaining during the Davis Cup final in Madrid, when the pro-Spain crowd was as loud or worse in cheering their team on. “People from some countries,” indeed!

Dave Says:


Thank you for taking the time to write that extensive reply for me. That’s interesting to say the least. I’ve learned a lot about the Serbian people. I can’t imagine not being able to go back to where you were originally from ever again. That would be very difficult. I had no idea there were many Serbians in Canada. I’m guessing they are most likely living in the GTA. Greater Toronto Area. I’ve lived in Toronto in the past and it is very Multi Cultural. I did have a friend who moved with his Family to British Columbia, the Province where I am from and they moved from Croatia. Thanks again for the reply. I really do appreciate it.

vk Says:

@Dave- Nadal has faced much worse and has handled it with the utmost grace. Year after year he faced hostile fans at the french open while facing roger and came out on top. The grudge against rafa was so strong that the french crowd even resorted to supporting the perennial villain i.e Djokovic so that they can see somebody other than Rafa win it.

There were no prolonged riling up the crowd when he won an important point or no racket breaking.

And also Nole cannot have it both ways- on the one hand people suggest that he wins as much as he does only because the crowd is against him and he wants to prove a point. On the other hand there are suggestions that he would have won more if he had the crowd on his side. You cannot have the cake and eat it too

Dave Says:

The problem is I’m not talking about Nadal against other players. I’m talking about Nadal against Djokovic. Comparing Federer and Djokovic are completely different things. Every player including Djokovic is going to prefer having the majority of the support on their side. This is true. But having the crowd against you, Djokovic handles it better than the other 2. Nadal would handle it better than Federer. Had Nadal had to play the Villian at the French Open against Djokovic, that could have totally swung the match. Even this whole Djokovic pretending at Wimbledon last year that they were chanting his name instead of Rogers still isn’t going to have the same impact as actual crowd support. Federer almost never has to deal with this. The only time I can remember the majority being against Federer was against Murray at the 2012 Olympics. I won’t blame the loss just on the support but also on the super long match against Del Potro the day before.

Tennis Fan Says:

Djokovic is a bad match up for Nadal, especially on hard courts. Nadal hasn’t found the answer to Djokovic’s game in many years.

SG1 Says:

An in-form Djokovic is bad match up for anyone on any surface.

SG1 Says:

Federer and Djokovic have gotten the better of Nadal over the past few years. I think some of it is due to the physical toll that the game has taken on Rafa and the rest…well you have to give credit to Fed and Nole for continuing to improve and add new wrinkles to their game.

SG1 Says:

Interesting stuff going on with Federer regarding his affiliation with Credit Suisse. I’m not sure what the activists expect him to do? He doesn’t seem to have an anti-establishment bone in his body and there isn’t really anything wrong with that.

Obviously a high profile athlete like Federer deciding to bite the hand that feeds him would make for good press. But to what end? To get blackballed like Colin Kapernick? The guy loves playing tennis and he shouldn’t have to jeopardize that to appease anyone.

It’s not Federer’s fault that Trump was elected and that he doesn’t give a damn about environmental issues. Athletes aren’t role models. It’s silly to hold them to a higher standard than we do ourselves. It’s not like Credit Suisse needs Federer either.

Dave Says:

That’s a good point. Nadal is 0 and 15 against Djokovic and Federer combined on surfaces other than clay with his last win coming against Federer in 2014 in Australia on hard courts. That’s 6 years without beating either player.

RZ Says:

Hi all – not able to post so much these days but will be back later in the week with the AO racquet bracket.

chofer Says:

Besides generally agreeing about the Rafa-Nole incident here, as an old fan (and man) I say this Cup is useless, almost impossible to follow scorewise and there should be one Davis Cup called likewise. Period.

Play tournaments across continents. Let people in Doha or wherever see you play.

Or elsewhere,make a hard court Australian swing like the US Open and move the tournament to February.

There’s no reason this tournament should exist. I couldn’t have cared less who won.
The Hopman Cup was ok as warm out. Or the Kooyong exhibition.

Why re-inventing the wheel?

SG1 Says:

The players seemed quite engaged in the ATP Cup. The intensity was very high and the fans were totally into it. Hard to knock a tournament that has these things going for it.

My concern is a little different. The players already complain that the season is too long. Another event of this intensity just adds to cumulative fatigue at the end of the year. By the time the USO rolls around, a lot of the top players are out of gas.

Perhaps the ATP can do something similar to what the PGA does and alternate the DC and ATP Cup. This way, the schedule wouldn’t be any longer and this would in fact increase the value of both titles.

Alison Hodge Says:

Like RZ I dont really post or want to post for that matter, i just Think Rafa fans can console themselves with the fact that , he has 19 GS , and theres only one guy with more, and when push comes to shove thats really what matters, end off ….

chofer Says:

The players are invested in the Laver Cup, too.

That’s not the issue. The issue is why we need yet another more exo. Aren’t enough already?

If they compain about the “long season”, they should cut these meanungless exos. Not too mantion the paid exos they played outside ATP overview. A little bit hypochritical the players, no?

The thing that haven’t should not been cut at all are the rankin points to players playing Davis Cup. That was obnoxious and a terrible move on the part of the ITF. The ATP only cashed in on that mistake. And there’s so obviosly bad blood between the two corps I say they should stop it. Now.

For the benefit of us,not the players. The could play whatever they choose to. I’m not interested to see them in these kind of events.

Truthsquad Says:

One of the arguments Nadal fans always use against Federer in the GOAT debate is his losing H2H record against Nadal. Now that Djokovic is closing in on both of them in majors, I suspect the same argument will be used against Nadal. Once Djokovic equals or surpasses their total (likely given his age and success on All surfaces), the H2H argument is going to tip the scales in his favor.

Wog Boy Says:

@ chofer


It is not exo, players are earning points and good money. Thanks to ATP cup Medvedev is now #4, Thiem dropped to #5, Duci Lajovic moved 7 spots up and so on. Nole earned 665 points, maximum is 750 points (I don’t know why he didn’t get maximum but 665 is good enough).

Another benefits, since only the top players are playing it, lower ranked players can play Doha or elsewhere and jack up their ranking, like Rublev did in Doha.

It’s is also good preparation for Australia open, keep in mind that players were anyway playing Brisbane, Sydney tournaments and Hopman cup (Perth) as preparation for AO. Nothing changed except that these tournaments are killed and instead they are playing ATP Cup in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney at the same time of the year.

Last but not least, Tennis Australia laid new surfaces in Brisbane, Perth, Sydney and Adelaide which are exactly the same as one in Melbourne, so players know exactly what to expect in Melbourne and are ready for court conditions.
Anymore informations I am on your service?;)

Wog Boy Says:

Would you do this if it was an exo:

Almost unanimous opinion was that ATP Cup was absolute success, I sm talking about players and coaches not about public opinions, which are the same.

Dave Says:

I’ve been hearing this story going around that Nadal and Djokovic are going to be tired for the Australian Open and Federer is going to be fresh. I think that’s wishful thinking if people think it gives Federer an advantage and not the other way around. The confidence that Nole is going to get from winning 6 matches in a row against some very high quality opponents is going to serve him well and his confidence is looking like it’s thru the roof at this point. Nadal also gained much needed match play that you can’t emulate on the practice courts. Rafa had some good moments like the 3rd set against De Minaur and the 2nd set against Djokovic. Federer going in without a single official match in over 2 months is going to be the bigger question mark if anything. Djokovic and Nadal have a full 8 or 9 days between competitive matches. One will have 8 and the other will have 9. That’s plenty of time to rest.

Daniel Says:

The points Djoko made in ATP cup could be crucial for his return to #1. He may do it in AO if he defends his title and Nadal loses before semis.

Also he is oozing with confidence and the clear favorite. With a good draw, avoiding a Tsisipas or thiem QF (getting Berretini or zverev, tge ideal is Berretini) and not getting Wawa (who is #15) in R16 he can be pretty safe. Even drawing Federer nor Medveded in semis may be better for him at this points as we don’t know how Federer will cope with first 3-4 matches.

Draw may be more interesting than before as there are a few match ups that bother some of the Big 3 differently. Fed must avoid Thiem and Tsisipas; Djoko avoiding Wawa and Tsisi; Nadal avoiding Medveded or other tall power hitter.

This year promisses to be crucial in the nig scheme of things (menaing GOAThood for big 3), as to me, it is the last real competitive tennis year for Federer as top 5 player. And that till Olympics, because USO seems he has a bad karma going on last 10 years.

Giles Says:

The ATP Cup is a superfluous tourney especially just after the Davis Cup which is far more prestigious and important. Having to travel across 3 cities in one tournament must be extremely exhausting and then having to play tennis on arrival seems absolutely absurd and debilitating for the players. Should be scrapped from the calendar!!

Giles Says:

Daniel. With all due respect you just seem to eat, drink and count points! Nothing else to worry about? Lol.

Dave Says:


For Djokovic you can add Bautista Agut in the Fourth round and Kyrgios earlier possibly. He really doesn’t want them that early on. I actually think Wawrinka has the best chance of beating Djokovic out of anyone in the tournament because of the matchup. From what I can remember, Djokovic has never beaten Wawrinka at a Major in under 5 Sets. Not a good way to be rested for the final. And I was thinking the same thing about the QF matchups. NO one wants Tsistipas or Thiem in their Quarter. Zverev and Berritini will be much easier to deal with, If they even make it that far. Djokovic would definitely rather Federer over Medvedev in the SF. That’s exactly what I was thinking too. But I do think Rafa would rather play Medvedev than Federer in the SF. Medvedev still has never beaten him. Federer hasn’t lost to him on hardcourts since 2014.

Daniel Says:

Giles, That superfluos tourney gave more points to Djoko than an ATP 500 (say Barcelona😜) and playing 3 top 10 players, which no other ATP 500 allows you to, due to filed. So it is behind a Masters and above an ATP 500 in terms of points and field.

Indeed Dave, Nadal would prefer Medveded over Federer and at least one of the 3 will draw either Tsisi or Thiem QF, maybe 2. So at least 1 will get a good draw just by avoiding these 2.

Also curious where Kyrgios will land. If he will drawn one of the big 3 R32. That would be the unluckiest draw for them.

I don’t know how is the weather forecast also. But rain can play a big factor in favor or Federer and even Djoko. The less hot and sun, the better for both of them.

chofer Says:


If these legends wouldn’t play, nobody would be paying much attention.

Many former legends has expressed it to. But of course I have no nitpicking with your points.

Just let’s see how they handle the toxic smoke in Melbourne before we make a pick.

Now,that’s something NOBODY is paying attention to.

Ronn Says:

Wog Boy, the points given out also depended on the ranking of the opponents, and that’s why Djoko didn’t get the full 750 points. If all the opponents he played in the singles been ranked in the top 10, he then would have gotten the maximum 750 points.

Wog Boy Says:

Thanks Ronn, I knew there is reason but I didn’t know what the reason was.

Wog Boy Says:

@ chofer
The ATP Cup is designed to bring best players in, of course it wouldn’t be successful if there is no best players in those 24 teams that represent 24 countries.
The only set back was pulling out of the Swiss team who was heavily advertised for Sydney group and agreed to participate, then their main player decided to pull out of the team (competing was against his interests) his subordinate followed him stating injury (but he played Doha;) and then entire Swiss team pulled out.
Luckily that didn’t dent success of the tournament.

As for toxic smoke, I lived for more than a month with it and the rest of the country did. Is it bad, yes it is, some days I wake up and everything is hazy and blurry but no sport events in open were cancelled, parks were full on weekends (Aussies are very much outdoor people), beaches were full.
I didn’t hear higher ranked players complaining (maybe I missed) it was lower ranked players and Tomic who didn’t make it through first round of qualifying.
Keep in mind that AO starts on Monday, we finally had some good rains (if they only came few weeks ago), there is no much fires going now, only smouldering, now is the grim task of aftermath, clearing the area and tens of millions of dead animals.
This was catastrophe of biblical proportions, just to compare, Amazon fires burned 900 thousand hectares of land, Australian fires burned over 10 million hectares of land, or over 100 thousand square kilometres and around billion animals (some estimates)!!

Stan Wawrinka had a go yesterday at players who complained, good on him. You can google what he said.

AO is the only GS with 3 Arenas with roof. Even if it is that bad, which is not (far worse pollution is in the China and India yet players are playing without complaining) they can always close the roof, switch AC on and continue tournament with little disruption.
Finally, if those players, who complained, are so concerned for their well-being they can always pull out…and forfeit money, but they won’t.

D Ace Says:

i love both Djokovic and Nadal. So, It doesn’t matter if either of them wins

Wog Boy Says:

Possible QF, Nole vs Stefanos
38 years in Nole half too.

Possible fourth round match, Rafa vs Nick.

Andy Mira Says:

Urgh!…Can’t believe Rafa got Nicky the brat once again!…Of all the section he wants to land!….Of coz in Rafa’s section!…Urgh!!

Wog Boy Says:

I really hope Rafa kicks his backside if they are to meet.

Last night during charity event in RLA, when Kyrgios was making his entry on court Nole, Rafa, Serena … were standing in line, Nick walked in and instead of giving high 5 to players, he avoided even eye contact with Rafa and Nole and went straight to the end of line, Federer entered and walked passing all the players giving them high 5 and stood next to Nick.
When Nole was playing Monfils in ATP cup in Brisbane Nick was in the stands cheering Monfils and made sure to be loud enough and visible on the big screen, when Nole was asked if he saw him he answered with a smile “No, but it’s ok, I know Nick is very good friend with Monfils.”

Alison Hodge Says:

Wogboy because he will never come close to achieving anywhere near to what Rafa and Nole have done , and are continuing to do in their careers, hes not fit to lick their shoes clean, its pure jealousy ….

chrisford1 Says:

The suggestion to emulate the PGA and alternate cups every year for DC and ATP Cup is a good one. The sort of players that love team play and excel in that environment (Rafa, Novak, David Ferrer (ret.)) will still get a chance once a year to do so, but not burn out early in the season.

WB – One of the worst years for fire in Australia on record. Hopefully the country can prepare to stop a recurrence. Might be global warming, natural warming, poor management of fire load and obstacles to thinning trees, building fire breaks, controlled burns. Australia and California share the same climate and resinous trees and shrubbery. From my perspective living and visiting California, seeing the fire load reaching catastrophic levels if a fire starts in places I’ve been – returning to see the aftermath of fires so bad the topsoil burned away – I know people see this and want to make places safer but Greens and the government block thinning, clearing fire load on forest or brush areas, block firebreaks from being made around houses and bans on controlled burns. If not government, then lawsuits that stop good control measures for many years in our courts.
Changes have to be made in both California and Australia IMO. Just saying “it’s all global warming’s fault” doesn’t make either place any safer because the warming will go on regardless for many years and exempt China and India are the big CO2 contributors.

Back to tennis – Poor Fed! I know he would rather face Nadal than Djokovic if all 3 make it to the semis. But Roger is still a dangerous hardcourt player and he would love beating Novak.
Watch Daniil Medvedev! He is still in top form, maybe even improving. It took Djokovic in top form to take him down in a battle at the ATP Cup. He reminds me at least, that there is no guarantee for sure that Novak will get 4-5 more Slam Titles as Rafa and Fed fade – his window will close at some point as the younger talent reaches full form (talent better than the young guns of the past that fizzled against the Big 4)
Stoked to watch Jannik Sinner, who got a wild card. He is in Federer’s Quarter of the Draw. Faces Dennis Shapalov 1st Round. If he gets past him, and that would be tough, who knows?? If you haven’t heard of Sinner, you will.
Kim Clijsters is unretiring again. “Kids are now all in school, why not?” She may be looking to the Olympics for Belgium. Always enjoyable to watch when she can maintain her concentration, amazing athletic moves.

Daniel Says:

yeah chofer, Federer is always a dangerous HC player, specially if he is in an AO semis.
Also, he is the last man to beat Djoko preventing his chance to fight for #1 in round robin play. Had Fed lost that match history could be way diffenret: Djoko could have end the year #1, with another WTF to his tally and entering AO even more confiant.

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