BELGRADE, SERBIA: Serbian No. 2 Janko Tipsarevic faces a race against time to be fit for the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final as he tries to recover from a foot injury.
The 29-year-old Belgrade native has not played a competitive match since retiring with the problem three games into his first round match in Valencia in October.
“I’m still in the recovery process,” admitted Tipsarevic at the pre-draw press conference on Wednesday. “It’s not been a great couple of weeks for me. I tried practising a little bit without any pain but hopefully we will sit down tonight and make a final decision whether or not I am going to play and what is going to happen.
“It’s not a definite no or a definite yes. We will know by the day’s end.”
Should Tipsarevic prove unfit to play this weekend, captain Bogdan Obradovic has plenty of options at his disposal. Filip Krajinovic, Boris Pashanski, Ilija Bozoljac and Dusan Lajovic joined Djokovic, Tipsarevic and Nenad Zimonjic at Wednesday’s press conference and all readily wait in the wings to stake a claim for the second singles spot.
At world No. 117 Lajovic appears to be the most likely candidate to fill the void, but only if Tipsarevic is deemed unfit to play any part in the tie.
“I have a feeling that if there is a chance for me to play in any of the three matches then I will be in the team,” Tipsarevic added. “This is something which is going to be revealed very soon. We still have one day to make a final decision and we have a lot of different options to choose from.”
“We have all been practising for the last few days in the arena and working hard,” added Lajovic, when asked if he was ready to fill the second singles spot. “At the end of the year we’ve all had some good results and I think the captain will choose the best option for singles and doubles.”
With the latter discipline in mind, Nenad Zimonijc, meanwhile, said the host nation is well aware of the threat posed by Czech pair Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek in Saturday’s potentially pivotal doubles encounter.
The 37-year-old Serb has already played two epic Davis Cup doubles encounters in 2013, defeating the Bryans 15-13 in the fifth set in the quarterfinals against USA before losing another nail-biter 10-8 in the final set against Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil in September’s semifinals.
And Zimonjic insists he’s ready to go the distance again to secure a win in the third rubber, having lost to the Czech pair in both of Serbia’s previous encounters with Czech Republic in 2010 and 2012.
“[We’ll do] whatever it takes,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how long we are going to play. If it takes five hours we’ll play five hours. It doesn’t matter really.
“It’s going to be a very difficult match. We lost twice to them in the doubles, but that’s why we’re here, to try to win it this time.”