Novak Djokovic is taking aim at local neighbour Croatia as the countries clash in the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid.

The Battle of the Balkans at the controversially abbreviated international team competition will pit two longtime adversaries – both in tennis and geopolitics.

But Djokovic is keeping it strictly sporting as the showdown approaches.

“It’s true that there is a great rivalry with Croatia and that this match has an extra meaning for us,” the ATP No. 1 said.

“There is always additional pressure and motivation to win. Anyway, friendship and respect with these guys is a positive message.”

Djokovic added: “I know (Croat Marin) Cilic very well, (Borna) Gojo is one of the biggest surprises of the tournament and they have the best doubles pair in the world.

“It’s great to have a rest day to recover and give support to the rest of the teammates – we want to win every game.”

Serbia, which won the 2010 Davis titles played in the classic home-and-away format, is keen to get on top of the Croats for neighborhood bragging rights as much as anything else..

And the 34-year-old is already looking ahead as he drops strong hints over a possible future post as national captain.

“I’ve always said that my priorities at this stage of my career are the Grand Slams and playing for the national team. I feel very motivated and it inspires me to be part of the group. 

“As long as I am healthy, I will be available for the captain and particularly for Davis, which is the most historic team competition.

“We are trying to find the right team to represent Serbia in the years to come and I look forward to contributing in a positive way.”


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