Serbia is proud of its basketball players who reached the semi-finals of the Men’s World Basketball Championship in Turkey in September. It is proud of its volleyball players who won the bronze in the Men’s Volleyball World Championship in Italy in October. There is a lot of enthusiastic praise for the players of FC Partizan for qualifying for the Champions League. And yet, over the last few months of this year, tennis has become the most popular sport in Serbia.
Serbia’s tennis players, led by Novak Djoković – who is currently in 2nd place in the world on the ATP list, have won the right to appear in the Davis Cup finals for the first time. Between 3-5 December, the Belgrade Arena will be the venue of a duel with France where the new champion will be decided.
All tickets were sold within a few hours. This is no surprise seeing as all tennis fans hope that Djoković, Viktor Troicki, Nenad Zimonjić and Janko Tipsarević - the hero of the semi-finals victory over the Czech Republic - will bring the Arena to a boiling point.
In an interview for Southeast Europe:People and Culture, the Serbian team captain Bogdan Obradović said that he was fully convinced his team would win, especially in view of the fact that the French team will be without their best player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as well as Julien Benneteau. Both will not be playing due to injuries.
“I am 100% optimistic. How could I think anything else with the team that I have and the fact that we will be playing at home”, Obradović said, pointing out the fact that the Serbian team has never lost when playing at the Belgrade Arena. And this time round, for the finals, the Arena will host 15,390 spectators.
“We are motivated and the lads are keen to win, and I am sure they have the strength to do it. However, this is a new experience for us and no one can be certain of what will happen”, Obradović added.
The French have reserved 1,600 seats for the match, which is receiving an increasing amount of global media attention.