Novak Djokovic will play Mate Delic in the opening singles Friday when Serbia takes on Croatia in the first round of the Davis Cup.
Thursday’s draw also pit Viktor Troicki against talented Croatian teen Borna Coric.
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In Satruday’s doubles, Nenad Zimonjic and Troicki will face Marin Draganja and Franko Skugor.
U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic will miss the best-of-five series because of injury, leaving the Croatian team to be led by the 18-year-old Coric, who beat Rafael Nadal in October and Andy Murray last month.
”We are favorites, but that does not mean we have already won the match,” Djokovic said, praising Coric for his talent. ”His wins against Nadal and Murray illustrate his capabilities.”
The reverse singles on an indoor hard court in the central Serbian town of Kraljevo will be played on Sunday.
”If it comes to a match against Djokovic, I will try to enjoy playing against the best player in the world,” Coric said.
Troicki is returning to play for Serbia after serving a one-year doping suspension.
It will be the second meeting between Serbia and Croatia since the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. In 2010, Djokovic led Serbia to a quarterfinal victory in Split en route to its first and only title.