Having played against Serbia twice in Davis Cup — once in 2011 (away, Novi Sad) and the other in 2014 (home, Bengaluru), former India top singles player Somdev Devvarman is of the view that the World Group playoff away tie will obviously favour Serbia, but the former Chennai Open finalist said the choice of surface will be very important.
“The most crucial part of the tie is the surface that Serbia chooses to play as they are very good on clay courts. They are good on hard courts as well. And moreover, it is that time of the season (in September) when there are not many clay-court events.
“I think, on clay, they will be heavy favourites. Our boys are accustomed to hard courts,” said Somdev.
Serbia, Somdev said, has a lot of [singles] guys in the top 100. Filip [Krajinovic], [Viktor] Troicki, [Dusan] Lajovic, [Laslo] Djere are solid players.
“I think it’s a tough tie for sure. Even if Djoks [Djokovic] is not going to play, it is going to be tough.
“They have strong doubles players as well,” he said.
Somdev said Serbia was one of the toughest teams he has played against as they are a united group.
“Serbia is great for the culture they bring to Davis Cup. They are a tight-knit group. They fight hard together. They do everything together as a team,” he said.
On the whole, Somdev said the tie against Serbia will be a good learning experience for the youngsters.
“Hope we give a really good fight. It is Davis Cup. You only need three points and not all five.
“Anything can happen if we can squeeze (win) in the doubles. Serbia is the favourite, but if Yuki [Bhambri] and Ramkumar (Ramanathan) are playing and serving well, I have seen upsets happen in Davis Cup,” he said.