Novak Djokovic was drawn to face Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the first match of Serbia’s Davis Cup quarter-final against Spain on Friday (April 7), a responsibility he was happy to take on.
The former world number one’s appearance in his home city of Belgrade is one of several intriguing plots as the team competition reaches the business end with four hard-to-call ties.
Since opening the year by winning the Doha title, world number two Djokovic has managed only six victories, and his ATP Race points total of 475 looks tiny compared with the 4,045 already amassed by a resurgent Roger Federer.
An early defeat by 117th-ranked Denis Istomin at the Australian Open was followed by two defeats by Kyrgios in Acapulco and Indian Wells. He then withdrew before the start of last week’s Miami Open citing an elbow injury.
That is why all eyes will be on the 12-time grand slam champion on the indoor hardcourt in the Serbian capital.
Spain will offer a formidable test even without world number five, Rafael Nadal.
World number 19, Pablo Carreno Busta has been one of the form players on the ATP Tour this year and will be supported by 24th-ranked Albert Ramos-Vinolas.