France vs. Serbia in the 2010 Davis Cup final. It’s the last tennis that really matters this season, and boy, will it matter to 16,000+ people at the Belgrade Arena, the second largest capacity tennis venue in the world. France has brought the Cup home nine times, tied third for the most titles in the tournament’s history. Serbia’s never been in the final.The two teams have never met before, but with both nations boasting a deep, quirky and passionate roster, there’s no time like the present!
The tie will be played on an indoor, slowish hardcourt. Monfils says he’s happy that it’s not as fast as Bercy. Perhaps it’s quite a bit slower, since Michael Llodra, who beat Novak Djokovic a few weeks ago on that lightening fast Parisian surface, was passed over for second singles in favor of the more defensive Gilles Simon. (Boo! I wanted Llodra to play hero. . .though we’ll see what happens if Monfils loses the first rubber.)
Here’s Michael keeping loose and fancy free (as usual) during a Belgrade practice session:
Understandably, Novak Djokovic may be feeling the pressure:
I mean, the guy has a whole SHOP in the Belgrade Arena:
The line-up, from first to last rubber:
Janko Tipsarevic vs. Gael Monfils – Janko has a 3-2 h2h advantage, if you count tan ’07 Challenger in Zagreb.
Novak Djokovic vs. Gilles Simon – Gilles beat Nole once in six tries
Viktor Troicki/Nenad Zimonjic vs. Michael Llodra/Arnaud Clement – the 31-year-old Clement is in his first DC final
Novak Djokovic vs. Gael Monfils – Nole’s beaten him all five times they’ve played
Janko Tipsarevic vs. Gilles Simon (a.k.a. Michael Llodra)
I’d say the big question marks for each team are:
1. is Novak healthy, mentally fresh and ready to play hero?
2. Is Gilles Simon ready to play much, much, better than he has all season?
No sweat, says Nole:
The Serbs should have a hefty advantage, both with the consistent quality of their players and the mighty, roaring support of their home town fans. If the French have a chance to take this, they’ll need both a focused Gael Monfils (is that possible?) and a bit of luck. The Gallic team is known for it’s guile, style and wile – the Frenchies will need to use every trick in the book (Michael! Michael!) to keep the Serbs – fans and all – at bay. Either way, it’s going to be a hell of a lot of fun to watch!
Fun to listen to – the high quality Davis Cup podcasts at DavisCup.com.
What’s your forecast in Belgrade?
The No. 1 singles players:
The No. 2 singles players (Gilles is holding on for dear life):
The Dubs Gods:
We have Major champs, in singles (Nole!) and doubles (Nenad! Arnaud! Michael!). We have exhibitionists – Djokovic, Tipsy, Clement and Llodra will all strip down at the least encouragement. We have a philosopher in Janko, a pianist in Gilles, and two talented contortionists in Djokovic and Monfils.
Practice partner Richard Gasquet offering moral support. . .not on the lips! (Via DavisCup.com)
and enough goofy smiles to put Prozac out of business:
This is the best one – via DavisCup.com:
Catch all the laughter and tears on Tennis Channel this weekend. Click here for the Schedule.