Novak Djokovic is one of the world’s most recognisable sportsmen. The Serbian superstar won his sixth Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open earlier this year and, at the time of writing, remains undefeated in 2013.
But the world No. 1 will be treading new ground, quite literally, when he takes to the court for Serbia’s World Group quarterfinal against USA on 5-7 April, which takes place in the State Capital of Idaho.
“Boise,” said Djokovic wistfully. “I didn’t know much until I informed myself through Google. I have seen that there is an altitude of 800m and that goes in the favour of the American team – that’s why they chose that – because of the big serves of John Isner and Sam Querrey.”
Although Djokovic knows little about the host venue he knows that Serbia face a tough task if they are to reach the World Group semifinals for the first time since 2011, when he was forced to retire with a back injury against Juan Martin del Potro in Belgrade.
“United States are the most successful team in Davis Cup, so it’s not going to be easy,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it, I’m looking forward to go and play with my team, I always love these seven to 10 days spending with friends just representing Serbia – it’s really fantastic.”
The crowd at the Taco Bell Arena is sure to be treated to a tense tie, with Djokovic himself favourite to win both his singles rubbers against the likely opponents of John Isner and Sam Querrey. But the three remaining rubbers on paper could go in the favour of the hosts.
Serbia’s greatest tennis player knows how important Davis Cup can be to the careers of those involved and not only does he credit his country’s victory in 2010 as being the catalyst for his own rise to the top but also to improvements of the other players on the team – in particular Viktor Troicki.
Troicki won the decisive fifth rubber at the Belgrade Arena in 2010, defeating Michael Llodra 62 62 63 to hand his country its first Davis Cup title. At the time he was ranked No. 28 and such was his confidence boosted with victory over Llodra that two months later he went on to break the Top 20 for the first time before reaching a career-high ranking of No. 12 in June 2011.
The 27-year-old has slipped down the rankings since and currently finds himself at No. 44 in the world. Serbia’s fate in this year’s competition is largely in his hands and it will be intriguing to see how this one pans out.
You can follow live coverage of all the ties on DavisCup.com.