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By: Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild

The inaugural ATP Cup was a smashing success if you measure it by any metric—220,319 fans showed up at the three venues over the ten days of play, so there's that—but for Team Serbia it went above and beyond measurable and into the intangibles.

For Novak Djokovic and the rest of the trophy-winning Serbs, there was the complete euphoria of being embraced by and experiencing triumph in front of a devoted array of fans. Anyone who has followed the career of Djokovic knows that he hasn’t always had fan support commensurate with his status as one of the heads of the three-headed GOAT of tennis.

But in Australia, where so many Serbian fans flock to see their hero and other Serbian stars, the level of passion is off the charts, Serbia got more than its share of love and the harmony between the team and its fans in Sydney as Serbia swept through the knockout rounds and created lasting imagery that will forever color the annals of ATP Cup history.



“Very fulfilling moments on the court, and of course now we're filled with joy and all the positive emotions,” Djokovic said after Serbia’s 2-1 victory over Spain on Sunday night in Sydney. “This has been, and I keep repeating that, one of the highlights of my career, because you can't really match any big win in tennis with the win that you get to share with your team, with your friends, with the people that I have known for the biggest part of my life. So it has been an amazing event.”

Even without the euphoric fan support it would have been a wonderful week for Djokovic. He asserted himself as the game’s premier January player once again, going 6-0 in his matches including dramatic three-set victories over Denis Shapovalov and Daniil Medvedev to power Serbia in the finals.

Once in the final Djokvoic re-asserted his dominance over Rafael Nadal on a hard court by increasing his winning streak to Nadal on hard courts to nine matches and 19 sets—which is just unfathomable.

“I was playing really fast, trying to take away the time from him, and conditions were a bit slower,” Djokovic said of his victory. “The ball wasn't bouncing as high as probably during the day, so that was more suitable to my style of the game. So I was trying to take away as much time as possible from him. I was serving very well, definitely the best serving match I had in the tournament. Just extremely satisfied with the way I performed.”

The win over Nadal and the confidence that comes from going undefeated will no doubt buoy Djokovic as he heads to Melbourne to bid for his eighth Australian Open title, but more than those victories, the satisfaction gained from a soul-quenching team victory might be the true spark for Djokovic.


Let’s not forget that winning the 2010 Davis Cup was a springboard to Djokovic’s 2011 season, a season considered to be Djokovic’s best by many, and one that saw the Serb go undefeated all the way through to Roland Garros. 2011 was the season that marked the arrival of Djokovic as a legitimate threat to the two-headed duopoly at the top of the men’s game—he went 10-1 combined against Federer and Nadal and won three of the four majors on offer.

Could 2020 be similar for Djokovic? It’s too early to tell but by winning the ATP Cup with his mates in such convincing fashion, he has certainly piqued our curiosity.

“I think the highlight that I will take is not just the trophy but is the energy and chemistry and friendship we share between each other, and the bond is stronger and stronger obviously with these kind of experiences,” Djokovic said. “I'm personally over the cloud with my emotions, and hopefully I can take that positive energy and use it for Australian Open.”

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