MELBOURNE, Australia – Team Serbia beat Spain on Sunday to win the inaugural ATP Cup in Australia.
Novak Djokovic’s 6-2, 7-6 (4) victory over Spain’s Rafael Nadal coupled with Roberto Bautista’s win over Dusan Lajovic set up a doubles decider pitting Djokovic and Viktor Troicki against Feliciano Lopez and Pablo Carreño.
The Serbs prevailed 6-3, 6-4 to become the first-ever champions of the ATP Cup.
“I’ll remember this experience for the rest of my life,” Djokovic said after the game.
“I’ve been very fortunate and blessed to have an amazing career for the last 15 years, but playing for the team, playing for the country with some of my best friends for a long, long time, you just can’t match that. It’s just too special.”
Meanwhile, Troicki said: “First of all, I want to thank Novak for playing with me again; it was a great experience. I remember playing with him since we were nine, 10.”
Nadal dropped out of the doubles duel after his defeat to the Serbian tennis ace in the singles, citing the sheer number of games he has played in the competition – eight games in nine days.
“We are sure that next year we will be back and fight hard again,” he told the crowd after Serbia’s win.
Although Djokovic was tested in the second set of his bout with Nadal, the Serbs had it easier in the doubles and benefited from a large Serbian presence in the crowd.
Roberto Bautista had beaten Lajovic in the singles 7-5, 6-1, meaning the doubles match was all that was left to decide which country would win the ATP Cup.
The hardcourt competition was played between January 3-12 in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney.
A total of 24 teams started out.