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04 April 2013

Djokovic to take on Isner in opening rubber



  • Craig Gabriel

Photo: Susan MullaneNovak Djokovic, Viktor Troicki (SRB) and captain Bogdan Obradovic

BOISE, IDAHO, USA: The last time USA played Serbia in Davis Cup by BNP Paribas competition was in the first round in 2010. That tie was played in Serbia and the home team walked off with a victory on the way to winning the Davis Cup that year.

USA has got the opportunity to level the ledger in Boise, Idaho where the altitude is just short of 3,000 feet. Both teams come into the weekend feeling strong and confident.

The draw was held at the main train station which is now a museum and looks out across this very pretty city. The last passenger train rolled through Boise depot in 1997 but Jim Courier is hoping that his team of new USA No.1 Sam Querrey, John Isner and Bob and Mike Bryan will keep things on track.

The tie will open with world No. 1 Novak Djokovic playing Isner and then Viktor Troiki will face Querrey. As expected the doubles rubber will feature the Bryan twins against Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac, although most people are not expecting that to be the final make-up of the Serbian tandem on Saturday.

The reverse singles has Querrey playing Djokovic and then Isner facing Troicki.

“I think there is no clear favourite in this competition, especially in the latter stages (like) the quarterfinals,” said Djokovic. “USA is always going to be a difficult opponent, especially if they’re choosing the conditions and location of play.

“We all know that John and Sam possess great serves, as well as Mike and Bob. On the other hand we have tall guys as well. It’s going to be an interesting tie. Hopefully we can get a win.”

Djokovic said his loss in Miami the previous week, while very disappointing, gave him an opportunity to get to Boise early and allow him to acclimatise to the conditions. However he is not concerned at a suggestion that the loss to Tommy Haas would affect his confidence.

“This is sport. You’ve got to be ready to win and lose,” added Djokovic. “I’ve been very consistent in the last few years of my career. I understand that people are always expecting me to play semis or finals of every event I play in.

“If a loss before that stage of the tournament happens, everybody starts questioning it. I’m feeling good, I’m practising, I’m moving on. I’m trying to play well here and hopefully we can bring the win to Serbia.”

Obviously Jim Courier and his boys have a vastly different view on things. The Americans were stung with the loss in Belgrade three years ago but Courier says that has not been mentioned once in the locker room. The team is just focused on winning this weekend.

”Preparations have been very good and we’ve all been in Boise for quite a while getting good practice at the arena, getting comfortable. Our guys are feeling good,” explained Courier.

“Going up against a team as accomplished as Serbia is a big challenge and we look forward to that challenge. We’re going to have to play our best tennis to get through this weekend, starting with the first ball to the last ball.

“Every single match is going to be difficult. We feel like we can make things difficult for them.”

In the singles head to head series for the opening day’s rubbers Djokovic leads Isner 2-1 including a win in their only Davis Cup match in 2010 and Troicki leads Querrey 2-1 but Querrey won their only Davis Cup match also in 2010.

The full draw is listed below:

R1: John Isner (USA) v Novak Djokovic (SRB)
R2: Sam Querrey (USA) v Viktor Troicki (SRB)

R3: Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan (USA) v Ilija Bozoljac/Nenad Zimonjic (SRB)

R4: Sam Querrey (USA) v Novak Djokovic (SRB)
R5: John Isner (USA) v Viktor Troicki (SRB)

Follow this tie as it happens: Live scores or Watch Live

Bob and Mike Bryan (USA) - 04/04/13

Captain Jim Courier (USA) - 04/04/13

Novak Djokovic (SRB) - 04/04/13

Captain Bogdan Obradovic (SRB) - 04/04/13

Sam Querrey (USA) - 04/04/13

Ilija Bozoljac/Nenad Zimonjic (SRB) - 04/04/13

Viktor Troicki (SRB) - 04/04/13

John Isner (USA) - 04/04/13

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    • Novak Djokovic, Viktor Troicki (SRB) and captain Bogdan ObradovicTeam USA
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