Llodra signals Davis Cup intent with Djokovic win
Originally published on: 12/11/10 09:57
In a potential dress rehearsal of the Davis Cup final, Frenchman Michael Llodra saw off Serbia’s Novak Djokovic 7-6(6) 6-2 in the third round of the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris last night.
The French No.4’s impressive display against the defending champion will have no doubt caught the attention of captain Guy Forget, who is beginning to consider his selection for the final which takes place in Serbia on December 3-5 2010.
The French captain has been left with plenty to ponder, especially after having to come to terms with the withdrawal of French No.1 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga from the team just over a week ago due to injury. World No.14 Gael Monfils will no doubt anchor the team, leaving Richard Gasquet, Julien Benneteau, Gilles Simon and Llodra to fight over the second singles spot.
“In view of the Davis Cup, I don’t know,” admitted Llodra, who has an impressive win-loss record of 17-8 in the competition. “I showed I was able to beat Djokovic. I showed I was reliable.
“Now, in Serbia, the match will be completely different with a different surface, but I was able to show our captain that he could count on me.”
Llodra, 30, won both of his singles rubbers in the semi-final tie against Argentina but the world No.34 is trying not to let selection rumours affect his game as he moves into the quarter-finals to face Nikolay Davydenko.
“The Davis Cup will be a different competition,” said Llodra. “I don’t want to think too much about the Davis Cup right now, although I know that for many people I showed that I was applying for a selection to play the singles.
“But I want to go further in this tournament for the time being. I don’t want to stop here.”
Llodra has been a revelation this season, picking up his fourth career title in Marseille in February before teaming up with retired former world No.1 Amelie Mauresmo in the summer, after which he picked up hi second title of the season in Eastbourne.
In contrast, while defeat obviously did not sit comfortably with the Serbian camp Djokovic’s main concern is now to gear up for Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.
Despite the loss the world No.3 was happy with his overall performance.
“I don’t think I’ve played bad,” admitted Djokovic. “Actually, I think I even returned well in the first set. But any time I needed a point when it was important, couple of games in the first set, deuce or 30-all, he came up with a huge serve.
“I mean, just close to the line, or he came up with an incredible first volley or something like that. All credit to him, he deserved to win.”