18. 09. 2011. · Photo: Beta
World no.1 Novak Djokovic tried his best but was forced to retire in Sunday’s opening reverse singles against Juan Martin Del Potro.
The US Open champion returned to Serbia less than 24 hours before the semifinal tie started. He somehow held on in a tight first set although his body language revealed he had not fully recovered from the gruelling exertions in New York and the long trip home.
Del Potro won the first set tie-breaker 7-5.
The Argentine made a break in the second game of the second set and consolidated the break for 3-0 when Nole went down with a painful scream and had to be helped to his bench by team mates and captain Bogdan Obradovic.
He couldn’t continue and the third point went to Argentines who will play in the Davis Cup final against Spain.
Tearful Nole embraced Del Potro and received a standing ovation from the 18,000 home crowd in Belgrade Arena.
“I feel very disappointed to end the tie in this way, I tried although I was only 60 percent fit and I got into the match knowing there was a risk of aggravating the injury which I first felt at the US Open,” Novak said at the press conference.
“We knew my condition was not good but we believed that even so I would have a better chance against Del Potro than my teammate Viktor would, at the end of the day it was my decision and it backfired. I am not saying I would have won if I had been 100 percent fit because Del Potro played at a very high level today and never in my professional career did I struggle with my return of serve as I did today.”
“The important thing now is to determine the extent of my injury and how long it will take me to recover, I was able to battle through the pain in the US Open final but not today,” said Nole.
Janko Tipsarevic took the opening set of the dead fifth rubber 6-2 when Juan Monaco retired due to injury.
This is Serbia’s first defeat at home since playing as an independent nation in Davis Cup in 2007.
SERBIA – ARGENTINA 2-3
The draw for the 2012 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas will be held on Wednesday, September 21, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand.
The seeds, based on the latest ITF Davis Cup Nations Ranking, will be published on September 19. The top two seeds in the 2012 World Group will be the 2011 finalists, Spain and Argentina.
Nole, we wish you a full and speedy recovery!