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Djokovic back on national duty

There is no time for rest for Novak Djokovic as the newly-crowned Wimbledon champion gets ready to lead Davis Cup holders Serbia in their quarter-final against Sweden which gets underway on Friday.

sports Updated: Jul 07, 2011 23:50 IST

There is no time for rest for Novak Djokovic as the newly-crowned Wimbledon champion gets ready to lead Davis Cup holders Serbia in their quarterfinal against Sweden which gets underway on Friday.

Djokovic is riding the crest of a wave after defeating Rafael Nadal in last weekend's final at the All-England Club to add the grass-court Grand Slam to the Australian Open title he won in January.

'Nole' has won an astonishing 48 times in 49 matches since the turn of the year, a run of form that started when he played the starring role in his country's defeat of France in last December's title decider.

"After the Davis Cup win I was full of life, full of energy, eager to come back to the tennis court and win some other tournaments. I lost my fear. I believed in my abilities more than ever," recalled the new world number one.

He played no part in the 4-1 defeat of India in the first round back in March, but is in Sweden for the last-eight clash. That will give the visitors the edge against their hosts, who must do without world number five Robin Soderling.

Instead, 297th-ranked Michael Ryderstedt leads the way for the Swedes in a tie which will be played on an indoor court in the southern city of Halmstad.

Meanwhile, Wimbledon runner-up Rafael Nadal has decided to bypass Spain's mouthwatering quarter-final tie with the United States in Austin, Texas.

Nadal has played more matches than anyone else in 2011 and has opted to take a rest to help his notoriously brittle knees recover from his hectic schedule.

Spain coach Albert Costa has replaced Nadal with Marcel Granollers for the tie as the four-times winners seek to beat the United States on home soil for the very first time.

"They are the favourites, but we have a quality group of players who are more than capable of winning," insisted a bullish Costa ahead of the tie.

"Rafa is of course a very important member of our team, but we mustn't forget that the players we have here are amongst the best in the world and some of them have won this competition two or even three times."

As well as Granollers, the Spanish squad features world number six David Ferrer, Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez, who beat Andy Roddick in the third round at Wimbledon recently.

With the match being played in his home city, Roddick is undoubtedly the star attraction, and his presence helps explain why tickets sold out in an hour. Captain Jim Courier can also call upon Mardy Fish in the singles.

Elsewhere, 2010 runners-up France travel to face Germany in Stuttgart with a strong line-up.

Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet, Michael Llodra and Wimbledon semi-finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are all named in Guy Forget's team, with Gilles Simon only brought along in reserve.

The Germans may have home advantage, but Forget admits that his side are the favourites.

"I have three players (Monfils, Gasquet, Tsonga) who are all capable of beating anyone in the German team," he said. "So if one loses, no doubt I will be criticised for not sending someone else out instead."

The first tie to get underway is the meeting between Argentina and Kazakhstan, which will be held from Thursday through Saturday on the clay courts of the Parque Roca in Buenos Aires.

The match was brought forward to avoid a clash with mayoral elections being held in the Argentine capital on Sunday.

Juan Monaco will face Andrey Golubev in the first rubber, with the hosts coming into the tie without the injured David Nalbandian.

Davis Cup World Group quarter-final tie to be played Thursday to Saturday:
Argentina v Kazakhstan at Buenos Aires (Outdoors clay)
Davis Cup World Group quarter-final ties to be played Friday through Sunday:
Sweden v Serbia at Halmstad (Indoors hard)
United States v Spain at Austin (Indoors hard)
Germany v France at Stuttgart (Outdoors clay)