Novak Djokovic hailed the ATP Cup as a ‘great competition’ after he led Serbia to a winning start to their title defence.
Djokovic won all eight of his matches in the competition last year as Serbia won the inaugural event, and he was looking in imperious form again as they took on Canada in Melbourne on Tuesday.
The Canadians won the opening match of the tie, with Milos Raonic getting the better of Dusan Lajovic in their singles match.
That heaped the pressure on Djokovic to keep the tie alive in his singles match against Denis Shapovalov, and he was able to resist significant resistance from the 21-year-old to claim a 7-5, 7-5 win.
IDEMO 🗣@DjokerNole shows how much it means! He breaks Shapovalov to claim the first set 7-5.
— ATPCup (@ATPCup) February 2, 2021
He then came back out to play the deciding doubles match alongside Filip Krajinovic, with Canada also sending out their big guns in Raonic and Shapovalov.
However, it was Serbia who won the rubber and the match, not least down to Djokovic’s trademark cool head in the most crucial moments of the contest.
“This is a great competition,” Djokovic said after his singles win.
“We need more competitions where we represent a team, represent our country.”
“It was a great opening of the season. Playing Shapo is always a great challenge on hardcourts, he is such a dynamic, explosive player.
“I thought we both played on a pretty high level, so I’m really pleased with the way I started the season.”
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