Novak Djokovic’s main goal can be ruined by Evans after Serb predicted concerns

Novak Djokovic has made it no secret that his priority for the rest of the year is the Davis Cup. Serbia will face Great Britain in the quarter-final next month as the world No 1 bids to help his nation win the ‘World Cup of men’s tennis’. 

Djokovic has only won the Davis Cup with Serbia once back in 2010. The country came close when they reached the semi-final two years ago but Djokovic and Filip Krajinovic suffered heartbreak in the decisive doubles rubber against Croatia.

At the time, the 24-time Grand Slam champion admitted that Serbia’s doubles pairing could be their downfall in the future unless they formed a solid pairing. And his words could come back to haunt him when Serbia faces Britain as the 36-year-old has already outlined Dan Evans as a dangerous opponent. 

“We need to have a doubles team that is constantly playing together, otherwise it’s going to be a Mount Everest to climb for us every time we play like this,” Djokovic said after he and Krajinovic lost to former world No 1 pair Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic.

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And he may well have predicted what could be Serbia’s downfall in the quarter-final against Britain as Djokovic’s rivals boast a dangerous duo in Dan Evans and Neal Skupski, who defeated seasoned veterans Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselinin a decisive doubles rubber against France last month which earned them their spot in the Davis Cup Final 8.

Djokovic is well aware of Evans’ ability across the singles and doubles as he recently told Sportal: “They are a complete team, they have four top singles players, while one of them, Evans, is extremely good in doubles as well. I saw that he played continuously and that he was the choice of their coach in combination with Skupski. They are very difficult and I hope that we will be able to win after the singles.”

Evans and Skupski have experience playing together, entering multiple events as a pair in 2021 and reaching the Monte Carlo Masters final together. Skupski has since gone on to partner Wesley Koolhof, reaching No 1 in the world. Djokovic also tried to get some experience playing with one of his Serbian teammates at tour events in anticipation of a Davis Cup partnership.

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The 36-year-old entered the Cincinnati Masters with compatriot Nikola Cacic where they lost in the first round. They teamed up again in Serbia’s group stage tie last month, losing to Czech duo Tomas Machac and Adam Pavlasek. It could mean that the doubles is team Serbia’s Mount Everest once again at the business end of the Davis Cup if they come up against Evans and Skupski.

Evans could also be a problem in the singles as Britain’s No 2 player, putting even more pressure on Djokovic to win his own singles match to keep the nations even. But the Serb’s main goal is still clear. “The biggest desire from the end of the season is to win the Davis Cup,” he stated.

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