(Paris) Having just won a record seventh crown at the ATP Masters, world No.1 Novak Djokovic can conclude an exceptional season with a victory in the Davis Cup with Serbia this week in Malaga, a competition ticked off on his roadmap .
“Although I have the highest expectations for these three tournaments, my greatest desire for the end of the season is to win the Davis Cup.” In mid-October, the Serbian made the team event, which he already won in 2010, his main objective.
Since then, these expectations have been more than met. A seventh title at the Paris Masters 1000 as well as at the ATP Masters and the assurance of finishing the year at the top of world tennis for the eighth time in his career, at 36 years old.
A dream autumn, epilogue to an almost perfect year. In 2023, Djokovic won three new Grand Slam titles (Australian Open, Roland Garros, United States Open), bringing his total to 24, an absolute record for men. He even came close to the calendar Grand Slam, only falling in the final at Wimbledon after a magnificent duel against Carlos Alcaraz.
A few days after his success at the United States Open in September, the Serbian brought the point of qualification for the Final 8 of the Davis Cup against Spain in the group stage.
And after his coronation during the “masters tournament” in Turin, Djokovic intends to guide his country again to the title, in Malaga.
The presence of Djokovic, absent from the Davis Cup campaign in 2022, could restore appeal to a competition which has lost much since the change in format in 2019 and the end of the popular home and away duels.
Serbia vs Great Britain
Eight countries are competing in southern Spain for this knockout phase which begins on Tuesday. Each match, until the final on Sunday, consists of two singles followed by a doubles.
Canada’s Félix Auger-Aliassime, outgoing winner, and Finland open the quarter-finals on Tuesday. Australia, finalist last year, faces the Czech Republic on Wednesday. Jannik Sinner’s Italy, beaten on Sunday in the Masters final by Djokovic, faces the Netherlands on Thursday, while Serbia will enter the fray that same day against Great Britain, deprived of injured Andy Murray. At the shoulder.
Djokovic has let a few rounds slip away in recent weeks and struggled through the group stage at the Masters, where he was jostled by Holger Rune and Hubert Hurkacz and beaten by Jannik Sinner. But he was imperial in the semi-finals against world No.2 Carlos Alcaraz (6-3, 6-2) and in the final during his reunion with Sinner (6-3, 6-3).
“Probably my two best matches of the season,” said the Serbian, who also considers 2023 to be “one of the best” of his career.
The one who starts a 400e week in the place of world No.1 will try to end it by brandishing a second Davis Cup trophy with Serbia, after the one won in 2010 against France, absent from this Final 8.
Before looking towards 2024, in search of the Olympic title, the only one missing from his record. “The Olympics will be one of my big goals for 2024,” he already said on the evening of his new Masters coronation.