Serbia to Gamble on Winning Men’s and Doubles
DUE to her leg injury, Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic will not play the women’s singles match against the USA’s Serena Williams meaning Novak Djokovic must win his match with Mardy Fish and Serbia the doubles to claim their first Hyundai Hopman Cup.
Jankovic first suffered the injury on Wednesday against France’s Tatiana Golovin, where she retired in the second game and then on Thursday night won the first set against Argentina’s Gisela Dulko before retiring.
However, on both occasions Djokovic won his singles and the pair of world No. 3s won the mixed doubles over France and Argentina, so they are certainly within a chance of beating Williams and Fish.
As an added bonus for the packed Burswood Dome crowd, Tournament Director Paul McNamee and legend Martina Navratilova will play a mixed doubles match after the trophy presentation.
McNamee and Navratilova won the Wimbledon mixed doubles together in 1985.
Serbia qualified for the final on the back of Djokovic being undefeated in the singles and the pair not losing a doubles encounter.
Jankovic is desperate to win the Hyundai Hopman Cup for Serbia and that is her driving motivation for playing through the injury.
“If I was playing for myself in a regular tournament, I would pull out and not bother going on court. This is a different situation, though. I am representing my country, not Jelena, so I want to fight until the end and not disappoint Novak,” Jankovic said.
“I shouldn’t be on the court with my injury, but with our motivation and drive, we really want to win. He is pushing me and as a team we are glad to get through to the final for the first time Serbia, we are making history.”
With the prospect of being blown off the court against Williams, Jankovic is not capable of playing both singles and doubles.
“I know it will be very difficult because when you are healthy it’s tough to play Serena and it’s even more so when you’re injured. I’m worried because in the singles I couldn’t do it and it was a torture being on court suffering with every move,” she said.
“The more time I spend on court the worse the injury gets. It’s the same in the doubles, but it’s not as much because I can protect myself and let Novak run down all the balls.”
That driving passion Jankovic and Djokovic have to win for their country looks certain to ensure the USA will not have an easy ride to winning its fifth Hyundai Hopman Cup.
“We are warriors. We are Serbia, we are strong and we have a winning mentality,” she said.
“We want to win, there’s no doubt about that. I don’t care that I’m injured, we have three legs they have four, so we are at a little disadvantage, but you never know what can happen.”
The final will begin at 6pm with Djokovic playing Fish, before a potentially deciding mixed doubles.