Novak Djokovic of Serbia, Serbia captain Nenad Zimonjic and his team celebrate after winning the ATP Cup final against Spain in Sydney, Australia, January 12 2020. Picture: CAMERON SPENCER/GETTY IMAGES
Novak Djokovic of Serbia, Serbia captain Nenad Zimonjic and his team celebrate after winning the ATP Cup final against Spain in Sydney, Australia, January 12 2020. Picture: CAMERON SPENCER/GETTY IMAGES

Sydney — Novak Djokovic helped seal victory for Serbia in the inaugural ATP Cup team event after defeating his long-term Spanish rival Rafael Nadal in singles on Sunday before playing a pivotal role in the deciding doubles match.

With the final locked at 1-1 after the singles were shared, Djokovic partnered veteran Victor Troicki to beat Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta and Feliciano Lopez 6-3 6-4 and win the title.

The 16-time grand slam champion proved to be a calming influence throughout, especially after the Serbian pair fell behind early in the match.

He used his powerful serve and fleet-footed returns to haul his country back into the first set and create a momentum shift Serbia rode all the way to a victory completed in the early hours of Monday.

Djokovic earlier beat Nadal 6-2 7-6(4), extending his dominance over the Spaniard on hard courts, a surface Nadal has not beaten him on since 2013.

Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut completed a flawless tournament by defeating Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic 7-5 6-1.

Reuters