The finals for the 2013 Davis Cup are just around the corner, with Serbia set to take on the Czech Republic at Kombank Arena in Serbia. The draw is set for Thursday, and will determine how the matches shake up. There's some huge names at play, including world No. 2 Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic has won 22 consecutive matches, starting with the Davis Cup semifinals against Canada in September. He'll be looking to push Serbia to just its second Davis Cup trophy. He was there to help them win it all last time in 2010 when they bested France, along with Janko Tipsarevic and Nenad Zimonjic. Both of them are also on this year's team, along with Ilija Bozoljac.
The last time Serbia played the Czech Republic, they were without Djokovic. That allowed a team that included Tomas Berdych, Radek Stepanek and Lukas Rosol to eliminate them prior to the finals. All three of those stellar players are also in the loop this time around, along with Ivo Minar.
Djokovic himself obviously slants things in favor of the Serbs. He's unlikely to fall to any one of Berdych, Stepanek or Rosol, though all three of those players are ranked in the top 50, with Berdych being No. 7 in the world. Meanwhile, Tipsarevic has fallen off this year and is ranked No. 36 for the Serbs; the rest aren't in the top 200.
The Czech Republic won the title last year, so that's going for them as well. Further exasperating the situation for the Djokovics -- I mean the Serbs -- is the fact that Tipsarevic is dealing with a serious heel injury and may not be fully recovered. He'll make the decision on whether or not he'll be good to go before the draw on Thursday.
If Tipsarevic can't go, it will mean Djokovic has to play in two singles matches and likely take to the doubles court with Zimonjic, who has extensive experience as a doubles specialist but could not conceivably step in for Tipsarevic in the singles as he has not been in a meaningful singles match for about four years.
Djokovic is an excellent enough player to get by effectively in doubles, but he's obviously not a doubles specialist. Meanwhile, Berdych and Stepanek have a 13-1 record in Davis Cup doubles when they pay together.
Djokovic will almost certainly pair up against Berdych in a singles matchup, and he'll be expected to win. H has a 14-2 mark against Berdych in singles, lending even more credibility to the thought that this year's Cup could come down to the doubles matchup.