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19 December 2013

Top 5 moments of 2013 - Stepanek's title triumph


Photo: Paul Zimmer/Srdjan StevanovicRadek Stepanek (CZE)

Each day this week we will be casting our memory back over 2013 to bring you the best moments from another fantastic year in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group.

Look at the celebration shots from the final in Belgrade and you will notice one very obvious similarity with the moment of triumph from Prague a year earlier... Radek Stepanek.

The 35-year-old Czech made history this year by becoming the first man to win live fifth rubbers in back-to-back Davis Cup finals.

Just to emphasise how difficult a feat it is to win two live fifth rubbers in a final (let alone consecutively) it’s interesting to note in whose company Stepanek now stands as a result of clinching the Davis Cup for his beloved country for a second year running.

Only France’s Henri Cochet (1927, 1929, 1931) and Britain’s Fred Perry (1933, 1936) have won two Davis Cup Final live fifth singles rubbers before and it had never happened in the World Group before.

This would be extraordinary in itself and is made more astounding when you consider that Stepanek is also one of the elder statesmen of the game and is asked to play on all three days of competition such is his ability in both singles and doubles.

Another record that Stepanek notched up in the final in Belgrade was that he became the oldest player to compete in a singles rubber in a Davis Cup denouement since the inception of the World Group in 1981. Given his and the Czechs’ recent form you wouldn’t bet against him breaking that record again next year.

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