Davis Cup

Djokovic suffering "stage fright"

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TENNIS 2007 Novak Djokovic

Image credit: Imago

20/09/2007 at 14:44

Serbia's top-ranked player Novak Djokovic said he had stage fright ahead of the Davis Cup tie with Australia in Belgrade.

"It's an entirely new experience for all of us because we have never played at home in front of 20,000 fans who expect us to win," Djokovic said after Thursday's draw for the world group playoff tie which starts on Friday.

"I have a bit of a stage fright because the Davis Cup is a specific competition and there is going to be a lot of pressure but I know I can count on the support of my team mates and our wonderful fans," the world number three said.

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"This is a great opportunity for us to reach the top division in the Davis Cup and I am ready for the challenge both physically and mentally."

The draw pitted Djokovic against world number 91 Peter Luczak in the opening singles rubber on Friday, followed by Janko Tipsarevic's clash with former world number one and Australia's top player Lleyton Hewitt.

Hewitt, the world number 21, has shaken off an injury scare after twisting his foot during Wednesday's practice on what the Australia team called a perilous surface.

"It was a bit of a scare and the court is not as safe as we'd like it to be, certainly not as good as the top quality clay we're used to playing on. Footing wise, it's dangerous," Hewitt said.

Djokovic and Nenad Zimonjic take on Hewitt and Paul Hanley in Saturday's doubles followed by the reverse singles on Sunday with Djokovic facing Hewitt before Tipsarevic plays Luczak.

Australia coach John Fitzgerald believes the winners of 28 Davis Cup titles can upset favourites Serbia to avoid what would be only their second relegation from the top division.

"The Serbians will start as favourites on paper but we have a lot of faith in this whole team," he said.

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