With Djokovic out of the squad, Serbia was not equal to Slovakia, who completed a clean sweep of the tie this weekend to progress into the Davis Cup Finals group stage for the first time.
After losing in the semifinal stage last year, Serbia was hit with a double whammy, and Djokovic's dream of winning the Davis Cup for a second time has evaporated into the air.
Not that Djokovic will lose sleep over it, but he has always wanted to leave his mark on the competition and the blueprint for the next Serbian kingpin. It didn't happen in 2023 and again in 2024, but you can never write him off, and here's why.
Age Is Not An Obstacle
With his acrobatics and athleticism, Djokovic is probably the only player who can play and win points that no other ATP player on record is quite capable of replicating. His body is a work of art.
While the Davis Cup is unlikely to be of priority on his schedule between now and the end of his career, Djokovic rarely turns his back to wear Serbian colors, just like he did with distinction at the backend of last year.
Even as he approaches 37, retirement has never been close for Djokovic, who could still comfortably play for a few more years and remain at the top of his game. And should Serbia get to the deep end of this tournament again, Djokovic would trade his time for another title.
Serbia's Record Since Winning The Tournament Is Not Shabby
Serbia has exceeded expectations playing at the Davis Cup despite Novak Djokovic singlehandedly carrying the team most of the time. They were runner-ups in 2013 and attained four semifinal finishes since last winning the tournament in 2010. So their record is excellent, especially with one man shouldering that burden as the best player in the team.
Djokovic Will Rely On Team Effort
In 2010, when Serbia won a maiden Davis Cup, Djokovic had teammates in their prime. The current captain, Viktor Troicki, and Janko Tipasrevic were instrumental. However, the emergence of a new crop of talent could significantly reduce the baggage that Djokovic has been carrying.
Hamad Medjedovic is touted as a future star, having won the Next Gen ATP Finals last season. Winning the ATP's flagship junior tournament has been a reliable barometer for determining how great a player would become. The likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas, Carlos Alcaraz, and Jannik Sinner are case in point.
Miomir Kecmanovic is also a player with serious potential. He won all three singles rubbers he played at last year's Davis Cup competition, where Serbia came mighty close to reaching the final. So, if some of these players can step up, Djokovic has every reason to believe that a second Davis Cup title is within reach.