Prohibitive challenge for the Azzurri in the semi-final
There is a particularly challenging obstacle between Italy and its first Davis Cup final for 25 years: it is world number one Novak Djokovic’s Serbia, the big favorite of the event and the only team that did not need a double in the quarter-finals to get through. Obviously the team is led by the 36-year-old from Belgrade, the man of records, Slams and weeks as number one, now 400. Djokovic’s CV is endless: 24 Slam titles, including 10 Australian Open, 7 Wimbledon, 4 US Open and 3 Roland Garros, the Serbian also boasts 40 successes in Masters 1000 tournaments, 7 triumphs at the ATP Finals, 1 Davis Cup and 98 tournaments in total. Accompanying him to Malaga are 4 other players: Miomir Kecmanovic, Laslo Djere, Dusan Lajovic and Hamad Medjedovic.
Kecmanovic, 24 years old, is the second singles player. Number 55 in the world but with a best ranking of number 27, he boasts a career ATP tournament victory on the Kitzbuehel clay in 2020. In this final eight in Malaga he made his debut with a convincing victory over the British Jack Draper 7-6 (7- 2), 7-6 (8-6). Djere, 28 years old, is number 33 in the world (best ranking of number 27 ATP) but Kecmanovic was preferred to him due to his better adaptability to the fast surface of Malaga. In his career he has won two tournaments, both on clay: in Rio de Janeiro in 2019 and in Cagliari in 2020.
Lajovic, 33 years old, is 46th in the ATP ranking, he was 23rd at most and should be the doubles player alongside Djokovic in the event of a tie after the two singles. Two successes in his career on the clay circuit, in 2019 in Umag and this year in Banja Luka, where he allowed himself the luxury of defeating Djokovic in the quarterfinals. Finally Medjedovic is the ‘freshman’ of the team. Twenty years still he has yet to enter the top 100 in the world, he is currently 111, with a best ranking of 102. He represents the future of Serbian tennis and captain Victor Troicki preferred him to Nikola Cacic, the team’s doubles specialist. Djokovic also believes in him so much that he finances him to pay for his trips and his coach.