Team Djokovic wins to open ATP Cup defense

Melbourne, Feb 02 (AP):
Rafael Nadal withdrew from his opening match at the ATP Cup because of a sore back but hopes to return for the Spanish team later in the week.
The No. 2-ranked Nadal posted a statement on Twitter before his scheduled match against Australia’s Alex de Minaur on Tuesday saying he had a stiff lower back and “hopefully I’ll be better for Thursday.”
Roberto Bautista Agut moved into Spain’s top spot to take on de Minaur and Pablo Carreno Busta moved into the No. 2 singles spot.
Top-ranked Novak Djokovic recovered from blisters that disrupted his preparation and was in his element on Rod Laver Arena as Serbia opened its ATP Cup title defense with a 2-1 win over Canada.
Serbia fans chanted and waved their national flag as Djokovic beat Denis Shapovalov 7-5, 7-5 to force a deciding doubles match, then combined with Filip Krajinovic for a 7-5, 7-6 (4) win over Milos Raonic and Shapovalov. Last week, in an exhibition in Adelaide following a 14-day hotel quarantine part of the COVID-19 pandemic regulations for everyone traveling to Australia Djokovic spoke about feeding off the energy of the crowds.
At Rod Laver Arena, the main show court at Melbourne Park where he has won a record eight Australian Open titles, he had plenty of energy to feed off.
The large and loud band of Serbia supporters was a feature of Djokovic and his team’s win in the inaugural ATP Cup last year, which culminated with a victory over Nadal and Spain.
“It’s a pleasure to see them in such big numbers. Whenever they can, they show up,” Djokovic said.
“Last year it was amazing. That was probably the best support outside of Belgrade that we ever had.
“We need that. In this kind of competition, it’s necessary.”
With coronavirus cases under control, the government is allowing crowds of up to 25% capacity for the tune-up events for the season’s first tennis major, rising to 50% from the start of the Australian Open next Monday.
That’s something the players haven’t experienced since the pandemic started to change the international sports landscape last March.
Matteo Berrettini said having the crowd back helped during his 6-2, 6-4 upset win over U.S. Open champion Dominic Thiem in Italy’s 2-1 victory over Austria in Group C.
Austria had taken an early lead, with Dennis Novak beating Fabio Fognini before Berretini made it 1-1 with his singles win and then helped in the 6-1, 6-4 doubles victory to seal it.

Related Articles

Back to top button