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Davis Cup Finals 2023: Great Britain face Serbia in Malaga

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Published in Tennis
Monday, 20 November 2023 11:05

Great Britain's bid for Davis Cup glory continues against a Serbia team led by Novak Djokovic, who says lifting the trophy is "important" for his nation.

Without injured pair Dan Evans and Andy Murray, Great Britain face Serbia in the quarter-finals on Thursday.

The tie in Malaga, Spain will be shown live on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app from 15:00 GMT.

"I really would like to win the Davis Cup with Serbia. That's a goal," Djokovic, 36, said.

Britain, who last won the trophy in 2015, reached the Davis Cup knockout stages with a thrilling victory over France in September.

Known as the 'Final Eight', the knockout phase starts on Tuesday when defending champions Canada face Finland.

Australia, who were runners-up last year, take on the Czech Republic on Wednesday, while Italy and the Netherlands play on Thursday.

The semi-finals will be played on Friday and Saturday, before the champions of the 123-year-old men's team event are decided in Sunday's showpiece.

Britain's doubles depth needed after injury blows

Great Britain initially named the same five-man squad which reached the knockout stage, but have since lost Evans - who was instrumental in their progress from the group stage - and former world number one Murray to injury.

That leaves, barring any more unexpected injury concerns, a straightforward team selection for GB captain Leon Smith.

In a best-of-three tie consisting of two singles matches and a potentially deciding doubles, rising star Jack Draper is likely to start against Laslo Djere before Cameron Norrie - the British number one - faces Djokovic.

If the matches are split, doubles specialists Neal Skupski and Joe Salisbury will aim to put Britain into the semi-finals.

Skupski, who won the Wimbledon men's doubles title this year, has forged a fruitful partnership with Evans for Great Britain, including winning a tense group-stage decider against France that secured the nation's place in Malaga.

With Evans ruled out by a calf injury, Salisbury was called up as a replacement and comes into the event having retained the doubles title at the ATP Finals in Turin on Sunday.

Dominant Djokovic targets another trophy

Despite being in the twilight of his career, Djokovic's powers are showing little sign of diminishing and he goes into the Davis Cup Finals aiming to cap another extraordinary season with more success in the team competition.

Djokovic won three of the four Grand Slam singles titles this year, with his only defeat at a major coming in the Wimbledon final.

On Sunday, the world number one further underlined his dominance by rounding off the tour season with a record seventh title at the ATP Finals in Turin.

Now Djokovic is targeting another trophy with Serbia, who won the Davis Cup for the first and only time in 2010.

"It is an important week for us, for our nation. We'll do our best," Djokovic said.

Who else is playing?

Holders Canada open the knockout tournament against Finland on Tuesday at the Palacio de Deportes Jose Maria Martin Carpena.

Led by 29th-ranked Felix Auger-Aliassime, they are aiming to ensure both team titles in the sport remain in Canadian hands after their female counterparts won the Billie Jean King Cup this month.

"Whenever we come as a team we always have a belief that we can win," Auger-Aliassime said.

"It's a separate tournament than the rest of the tour. That's why you always see surprises sometimes in Davis Cup. There is an energy.

"Regardless of what happens throughout the year, we've just got to come with the same level of confidence in yourself and your team."

Hosts Spain did not qualify for the Final Eight after failing to make it out of Group C in September, while the United States - record 32-time winners - also missed out after losing to Finland in their final Group D tie.

Where can I follow the Davis Cup Finals?

You can follow live scores, see the results and read the best stories from the six-day event on the BBC Sport tennis page.

If Great Britain win, they will play in the semi-finals on Saturday at 11:00 GMT. The tie would be available to watch on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app.

The final takes place on Sunday at 15:00 and the BBC will have live coverage whether GB are involved or not.

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