Serbia win Davis Cup for first time
Belgrade: Serbia celebrated their first Davis Cup title after Viktor Troicki thrashed France`s Michael Llodra to secure a memorable 3-2 victory inside a rocking Belgrade Arena on Sunday.
Chants of "Viktor" and "Serbia" reverberated around the imposing 17,000-capacity venue as Troicki, a late swap for the deciding rubber, won 6-2 6-2 6-3 against a powerless opponent who cracked under the pressure.
Jubilant scenes followed Troicki`s perfect backhand pass on matchpoint as his team mates stormed the court to swamp the 24-year-old before the players, and Serbian federation president Slobodan Zivojinovic sat down to have their heads shaved -- a vow they made after their semi-final victory.
Even Niki Pilic got the razor treatment after he became the first person to coach three different nations to the Davis Cup title, having also achieved it with Germany and Croatia.
Pilic was drafted in three years ago to support unassuming Serbia captain Bogdan Obradovic.
"This is the most unbelievable moment of my life," Troicki said on court alongside an elated Djokovic who won both his singles matches in the tie.
"It`s historic. This is our biggest success as individuals, as a team, as a country. We are not even aware of what we have done," world number three Djokovic added.
There was just gloom and despondency though for France whose admirable 1,200 fans watched the mayhem unfolding before their eyes in silence. Llodra appeared distraught as he slumped on his chair and was comforted by his captain Guy Forget.
"To be this close to our goal, it hurts. What is hard is that in both matches today we never caught a glimpse of victory. The other guy was better in every area," Forget said.
Serbia begun the day 2-1 in arrears against the nine-times champions after losing a cliffhanger doubles rubber on Saturday, but first Djokovic pummelled Gael Monfils 6-2 6-2 6-4 to level the tie before Troicki finished the job.
After claiming the first set with ease Troicki had a brief wobble when he went 2-0 down in the second but reeled off eight consecutive games to a cacophony of beating drums and chanting.
Llodra raised the tension levels when he broke serve to close to 3-4 in the third set but Troicki, with Djokovic and the rest of his team willing him on at courtside, held his nerve.
A weak Llodra volley brought up two match points and the party could start in earnest when Troicki fired a backhand winner past the despairing Frenchman.