ATP Cup: Djokovic beats Nadal before leading Serbia to win | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 12.01.2020
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ATP Cup: Djokovic beats Nadal before leading Serbia to win

Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal in their singles rubber before returning to court less than an hour later to win his doubles match and lead Serbia to victory. The European country become the first to lift the ATP Cup.

Coming just days ahead of the Australian Open, the new ATP Cup's introduction hasn't been without controversy.

But tennis's governing body got the sort of match-up they hoped for in the final when Novak Djokovic's Serbia and Rafael Nadal's Spain reached the showpiece in the team event in Sydney.

But for all its top billing, the singles encounter between the pair on Sunday night was fairly one-sided, with Djokovic, 32, running out a 6-2, 7-6 (4) winner over the Spaniard. That leveled things up after Roberto Bautista Agut had given Spain a 1-0 lead by beating Dusan Lajovic 7-5, 6-1 in the first singles match.

Unlike his opponent, Djokovic was then quickly back out on court and combined with Victor Troicki for a 6-3, 6-4 win over Pablo Carreno Busta and Feliciano Lopez.

"I'll remember this experience for the rest of my life, it's one of the nicest moments of my career," Djokovic said. "I've been very fortunately blessed, had an amazing career over the last 15 years, but playing for a team, playing for a country with some of my best friends is just ... you can't match that. It's too special."

Nadal, 33, blamed fatigue for his absence from the doubles decider and questioned the sport's scheduling. After playing six singles matches and two doubles matches in 10 days, on both the west and east coasts of Australia, less than two months after guiding Spain to the Davis Cup title in Madrid, Nadal urged the International Tennis Federation and the ATP to negotiate to form one world team championship.

"I think (the ATP Cup) is a great competition, but at the same time two World Cups in one month is not real. So it's not possible," he said.

"We need to find a way to fix it and we need to find a way to make a big deal with ITF and ATP to create a big World Team Cup competition, not two. I think that's a confusion for the spectators, and we need to be clear in our sport."

Both players will now switch their attention to the Australian Open, which begins in earnest on January 20 in Melbourne. 
 

mp/js (DPA, AP)

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