In the midst of helping Serbia in its bid to capture a second Davis Cup by BNP Paribas crown this weekend, longtime team member Nenad Zimonjic has been honoured with the 2013 Davis Cup Award of Excellence.
The annual award, given jointly by the ITF and the International Tennis Hall of Fame, recognises a Davis Cup player, past or present, who demonstrates a strong commitment to the spirit of the competition.
The award was presented by ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti and Serbian tennis great Slobodan Zivojinovic, a past recipient of the accolade. It was presented during a special on-court ceremony ahead of the all-important doubles rubber on Saturday at the 2013 Davis Cup World Group Final at the Belgrade Arena.
"Nenad has been a key component of Serbia’s Davis Cup team for 19 years and an inspirational team member,” said ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti. “We are pleased to recognise Nenad’s contributions to the competition here in front of his hometown fans by honouring him with the 2013 Davis Cup Award of Excellence."
Zimonjic has been part of the Serbian Davis Cup team for nearly two decades, with his first nomination in 1995. In 2007, he helped Serbia qualify for the World Group for the first time, partnering with Novak Djokovic for a doubles victory in the play-offs against Australia. In 2010, Zimonjic was a member of the Serbian team that clinched its first-ever Davis Cup title, defeating France 3-2 in a home final in front of enthusiastic fans at the Belgrade Arena.
This year, Zimonjic has played a major part in Serbia reaching the Davis Cup Final for a second time. In April, he partnered with Ilija Bozoljac to win an intense five-set match against the No. 1-ranked Bryan brothers, 76(5) 76(1) 57 46 1513. The win clinched the victory for Serbia over USA, and sent the team into the semifinals, where they defeated Canada.
Zimonjic has played a record 45 ties for his country, with an overall winning record of 40-22, including 13 singles victories and 27 doubles victories.
On the ATP Tour, Zimonjic has won 49 doubles titles including three this season. He is a seven-time Grand Slam champion, having won two Wimbledon doubles titles, one French Open doubles title, and two mixed doubles titles each at the Australian Open and at Roland Garros. Zimonjic has achieved the world No. 1 ranking in doubles, and has held a season-ending ranking in the Top-20 every year for the past nine seasons, highlighted by season-ending rankings in the world's Top-10 every year from 2006-2011.
The Davis Cup Award of Excellence was developed to recognise and honour an individual who best represents the ideals of the competition's founder, Dwight Davis. Each year the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the ITF present the award to a past or present Davis Cup team member who is from the country or region where the Final is held.
The Davis Cup Award of Excellence was inaugurated in 2001 by the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the ITF. Past recipients include 2012 recipient Ivan Lendl, an integral Czechoslovakian Davis Cup team member; Emilio Sanchez of Spain in 2011; Slobodan Zivojinovic of Serbia in 2010; Manuel Orantes of Spain in 2009; Guillermo Vilas of Argentina in 2008; Stan Smith of the United States in 2007; Alex Metreveli of Russia in 2006; Miloslav Mecir of Slovak Republic and Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia in 2005; Manolo Santana of Spain in 2004; John Newcombe of Australia in 2003; Pierre Darmon of France in 2002; and Neale Fraser of Australia in 2001.