Better than Wimbledon, the US Open, the Australian Open or Roland Garros, the overwhelming outpouring of emotion by both the players and the partisan fans leaves those other events far behind. And for those who would even suggest that the Davis Cup is out-of-date, and needs to revamped, then it must be assumed that they did not witness this latest event or they have an ulterior motive behind their suggestion. Maybe it’s because the USA, Australia and the UK, the three former powerhouses of tennis, are unlikely to have a competive team in the foreseeable future, that they want to change the format.
Viktor Troicki was the hero as Serbia won the Davis Cup for the first time in their history on Sunday. After Novak Djokovic had seen off Gael Monfils to level the final in Belgrade at 2-2, Troicki beat Michael Llodra in straight sets to seal the trophy for the hosts. The world number 30, a surprise late replacement for Janko Tipsarevic for the final rubber, ran out a comfortable 6-2 6-2 6-3 winner as Llodra struggled with his game. Troicki’s success sent a partisan home crowd into wild celebrations.
Troicki, who had disappointed in Saturday’s doubles rubber which France won to take control of the tie, responded with arguably the finest match of his young career as he revelled in the home support and outplayed a French opponent ranked seven places higher than him. The mood inside the Belgrade Arena had already been stoked after an emotional 6-2 6-2 6-4 win from Djokovic, who wore his heart on his sleeve in typical style. But it is Troicki, rather than the world number three, who will be remembered as the man who delivered Serbia their first Davis Cup crown after his stirring performance.
Both men were late replacements for the final rubber – Llodra coming in for Gilles Simon – and they showed early signs of nerves. However, it was Troicki who drew first blood with a break of the Llodra serve in the third game. He continued to cause his opponent problems, often coming up with a pass as Llodra tried to get to the net. Having lost the first set too easily, Llodra launched a fightback at the start of the second, opening a 2-0 lead. However, errors soon returned and he lost the next eight games to all but end France’s chances of winning a 10th Davis Cup crown. A double fault handed Troicki a double-break lead in the third set and although there was a minor slip-up from Troicki – he lost his serve in the following game – there was no denying the Serbs. Troicki clinched the historic victory with a superb backhand winner on the return of serve to write his name into Serbian folklore.