Tennis-Djokovic to lead Serbia in Davis Cup tie against Russia

TENNIS-DAVIS-SERBIA/DJOKOVIC:Tennis-Djokovic to lead Serbia in Davis Cup tie against Russia

BELGRADE, Jan 22 ( Reuters) - Ousted Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic will lead hosts Serbia against Russia in their Feb. 3-5 Davis Cup first-round tie, the world number two said on Sunday.

"I always look forward to playing in the Davis Cup because it's a very special feeling when we are all together," Djokovic, who suffered a shock second-round defeat by Uzbek Denis Istomin in Melbourne on Thursday, told the Serbian Tennis Association.

"I am convinced (southern Serbian city) Nis will be an excellent host and that we will be victorious in our clash with the Russians."

Djokovic, who has won 12 grand slam titles including six Australian Open trophies, was toppled by Briton Andy Murray as the world number one after a dramatic loss of form following his maiden French Open triumph in June.

His original 2017 schedule did not include playing in the Davis Cup tie with Russia but the early Australian Open exit has given the 29-year-old from Belgrade an opportunity to rediscover some of his lost confidence.

Djokovic led Serbia to their solitary Davis Cup title in 2010 and the Balkan nation's new coach Nenad Zimonjic, who replaced the long-serving Bogdan Obradovic earlier this month, will look forward to being at full strength.

Doubles specialist Zimonjic, himself a multiple grand-slam winner, announced this week that he will pick himself for the tie.

The winners will face either five-times winners Spain or 2005 champions and last year's runners-up Croatia in the second round. (Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Clare Fallon)

(This story has not been edited by and is auto–generated from a syndicated feed we subscribe to.)
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