BELGRADE, SERBIA (AP) - Michael Llodra hopes his recent victory against Novak Djokovic could land him a singles start for France in the Davis Cup final against Serbia next weekend.
The doubles specialist upset the No. 3-ranked Djokovic at the Paris Masters earlier this month and is the highest-ranked player on the French team behind Gael Monfils.
France captain Guy Forget has until Thursday’s draw to decide who will play. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is out of the Dec. 3-5 final with a knee injury, leaving Llodra to compete with Gilles Simon and Richard Gasquet for a spot alongside Monfils.
“I’m ready, but it’s up to Forget to decide,” Llodra said.
If Djokovic ends up facing the serve-and-volley specialist on Friday, the Serb believes it will be “a completely different game” from the one they played at the Paris Masters.
“I have never played on such a fast surface (as Paris), except maybe on grass,” Djokovic said. “It’s going to be much slower here.”
The final will be played on an indoor hard court at Belgrade Arena.
“I don’t mind playing him,” Djokovic said. “I have beaten him in the past.”
If Llodra is picked for singles, Forget must then decide whether to pick him for the doubles as well. Llodra has played in and won every doubles match on the way to the final, partnering Julien Benneteau or Arnaud Clement.
If Forget decides to rest Llodra, Clement could team up with Simon.
“All of our players must not be surprised if they are picked to play on Friday,” Forget said. “We will miss Jo, but these guys made it to the final without him, so they deserve to be in the final.”
While Llodra has been France’s key player this year, Serbia has been led by Djokovic, who has won all five of the singles matches he has played against the United States, Croatia and the Czech Republic.
“It’s easier to play at home in front of your own crowd, but our real concern is the level of play of Serbian players,” Forget said. “We know about Djokovic, but we are concerned about Viktor Troicki and Janko Tipsarevic.”
Serbia captain Bogdan Obradovic is also keeping his No. 2 player secret, with Troicki and Tipsarevic competing.
“It will be tough against either Troicki or Tipsarevic on Friday,” Monfils said.
Providing the competition is still alive, Monfils is set to face Djokovic on Sunday when the reverse singles are scheduled. The doubles is played on Saturday.
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