© Peter Staples/ATP Tour

Team Serbia, led by Dusan Lajovic (left), share a joke ahead of the 2022 ATP Cup, which begins on Saturday.

Lajovic Relives 'Amazing Experience', Now Leads Team Serbia At ATP Cup

Krajinovic training well for opening singles match

Dusan Lajovic says that he still gets “goose bumps” thinking about winning the inaugural ATP Cup title in 2020 with Team Serbia.

“It was personally one of the greatest feelings playing in Brisbane and here in Sydney, because Serbian community is huge in both cities, and in Australia overall,” said Lajovic. “It was [an] amazing experience, especially because we won it. I get goose bumps just thinking about it, especially now, practising here in the arena and having all of the memories come back. I think that it was great for us to win [in] the first year.”

This time in Sydney, Lajovic leads Team Serbia, which features Filip Krajinovic, Nikola Cacic, Matej Sabanov and captain Ivan Sabanov.

“We [have all been] giving our best in the past days,” said Lajovic, who will step up this year and play as the No. 1 singles player at the ATP Cup. “I'm looking forward to competing with these guys together by my side. Obviously, there are some tactical differences and pressure-wise, but at the end of the day, you've got to go out there, play your match and try to win.”

Krajinovic, Serbia's No. 2 singles player at the ATP Cup, added, “It's a good challenge. It's never easy to open the match, but I'm very excited. I'm ready for that. I knew that I will play the first match. As Dusan says, we are already playing well so far. We have a good team [and] I'm hoping that we're going to do well here.”

Without the services of World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, World No. 33 Lajovic realises that Team Serbia won’t be in the spotlight as much, which the players are hoping to take advantage of.

“It's never the same when you don’t have the No. 1 in your team,” said Lajovic. “Obviously, when Novak is in the team, the expectations get much higher. Then everybody is put in the spotlight... and [he is] trying to push the whole team. Right now, maybe, we are on the sidelines a little bit, and it could be good for us. It could be bad. We'll see.”

View Schedule

Serbia begins its 2022 ATP Cup campaign against Team Norway on Saturday, then faces Chile on Monday and Spain on Wednesday. With each tie featuring two singles matches and a doubles match, Nikola Cacic recognises the importance of the doubles match.

“Doubles is very important at ATP Cup,” said Cacic. “So we are here also practising some doubles [as it] could be possible that doubles decides the winner… We have a few good players here. Matej has now broken into the Top 100 [of the FedEx ATP Doubles Rankings], and also Dusan and Filip can play good doubles.”

Sabanov added, “I'm very excited, of course. I'm also very honoured to be in this team, and I will do my best to help the team to win some matches. I think we can do some good things here.”