Berdych: Doubles rubber key to Davis Cup final
Originally published on: 15/11/13 00:00
Berdych will be expected to win his opening match against world No.117 Dusan Lajovic, a late replacement for the injured Janko Tipsarevic, but will face a tougher test in world No.2 Novak Djokovic on Sunday.
Berdych, who has only beaten Djokovic twice in 16 previous encounters, admits he would need a big performance to defeat the man who is on a 22-match winning streak, but has pinpointed Saturday’s doubles contest as the key contest.
“This is the toughest [match],” said Berdych. “Novak is going to play at home. He’s going to play on the surface that he has chosen in the conditions that he loves the most. It’s not going to be easy at all. But we are in a position that this is not a single tournament – we have five matches to try to score three points. Basically every match is very important but if we don’t win some of them we still just need three points – we don’t need all of them.
“[Doubles] is definitely the most important point. It’s been one of the most important points that we’ve earned in many ties in the past and there will be no exception this time.”
Ilija Bozoljac and Nenad Zimonjic are set to face Lukas Rosol and Jan Hajek in Saturday's doubles, but Berdych and Radek Stepanek have won 14 of 15 Davis Cup doubles rubber together and may be called upon by stand-in captain Vladimir Safarik.
Meanwhile, Lajovic, whose only previous Davis Cup rubber was a dead rubber against Sweden last year, faces a tough opener against world No.7 Berdych after Tipsarevic was forced to withdraw with a heel injury.
“I would say it’s very exciting,” said Lajovic. “I have been feeling like this since I heard the news. I hope that this positive energy will lead me to play my best game on Friday. To play for your country in such an important match is incredible.
“From one side, Tomas will be the toughest player I have ever played. From the other side, maybe the good thing could be that he doesn’t know me so I might have some advantage in the opening games of the match. I just hope that I can give my best and try to surprise him.”