Serbia overcame a stiff challenge from France to enter the last 8 of the ongoing ATP Cup 2020 in Australia. Novak Djokovic led the Serbia team from the front, winning both his singles and doubles matches against group rivals France. After France led through Benoit Paire's victory over Dusan Lajovic, the World No.2 beat Gael Monfils 6-3 6-2. Djokovic then paired up with Viktor Troicki in doubles to beat Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin to win 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 10-3.
Victory over France ensured Serbia tops the Group A standings and becomes the second team to qualify for the Final 8 of the ATP Cup 2020 after Australia booked its place on Sunday as the Group F winners. However, what marred Serbia's victory was Novak Djokovic's on-court behaviour. Djokovic is known to lose his cool during matches over questionable umpiring decisions and once again the Serbian lost his cool over losing a point due to a video review for the first time in his career. Video review is one of the innovations at the ATP Cup 2020.
With Troicki serving at 6-3, 2-3 at 30-30, Djokovic hit a forehand volley to Nicolas Mahut’s return to earn a game point. But the French pair of Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin were convinced the Serbian had touched the ball before it had crossed the net and thus he should lose the point because of a 'foul shot'. The decision eventually went in favour of France. Speaking about the incident to the official ATP website, Djokovic said that it seemed to him, at first, that it was kind of just in the middle, but then the chair umpire repeated the video a couple of times to show he was right.
This was not the first time that Djokovic has lost a point while playing a shot near the net. In the 2013 French Open semi-final against Rafael Nadal, he fell into the net while hitting a forehand volley during the fifth set. He went onto to lose the match. Speaking about the incident, he said that he had already lost a very important point in his career against Nadal in a similar way in the semi-final at Roland Garros, so he had a little bit of a déjà vu there and got frustrated because of that. Serbia now travel to Sydney for the quarter-finals. The Group A winners will face the eighth team to qualify for the Final 8 in the day session on January 10.
World No. 2 Novak Djokovic expressed fear for the players who will be heading for the Australian Open soon. He said that the organisers should consider postponing the first Grand Slam event of 2020 if the haze from the recent bushfires happens to threaten the health of the players. The Australian Open is scheduled to start on January 20, 2020 at Melbourne Park.