Sydney (AFP)

The strong man at the start of the season is him: Novak Djokovic offered the victory of the first edition of the ATP Cup to Serbia, dominating the Spaniard Rafael Nadal then the pair Carreno-Busta / Lopez on Sunday in Sydney.

A few days before the Australian Open, he appears as the big favorite in his succession to the first Grand Slam of the year, which he has already won 7 times.

The world number two finishes the ATP Cup with 8 victories in as many matches - 6 singles and 2 doubles - after having dominated notably the Canadian Denis Shapovalov or the Russian Daniil Medvedev before the final.

But the man of the 16 Grand Slams delivered his greatest performance in the final against Rafael Nadal, while Serbia was in danger after the defeat in the number 2 match, won by the Spaniard Roberto Bautista against Dusan Lajovic (7-5, 6-1). A defeat against the world number 1 and the title returned to Spain, six weeks after their Davis Cup victory in front of their home crowd in Madrid.

"I will remember this victory all my life. It was one of the best moments of my career," assured Djokovic, moved to tears, at the trophy presentation.

- show of strength -

Djoko demonstrated, especially in the first set won 6-2, to beat the too brittle Marjorquin in the second balls.

The Serb thus sits his superiority over Nadal: he has won 10 of their last 13 confrontations. His last defeat against Nadal, on a surface other than clay, dates back to the final of the US Open 2013.

With his perfect course, he will catch up a little behind the Spaniard in the world ranking. The ATP Cup earns up to 750 points, in addition to an endowment of 15 million dollars (13.8 million euros).

The competition also showed that Nadal was no longer invincible with Spain, with two defeats, including that against the Belgian David Goffin, after 32 consecutive successes with La Roja.

Saying he is tired by the chain of matches since the start of the competition, Rafael Nadal has given up competing in the decisive double.

"My energy level is a little lower than usual (...) We believe in our team, this is the reason why we have had success in the past", he justified in press conference.

The duo Pablo Carrena-Busta - Feliciano Lopez had ideally started the decisive match, taking entry from the service of Novak Djokovic. But it was only a late start, and the pair that the Djoker made with Viktor Troicki reversed the situation by aligning 7 games in a row, to win 6-3, 6-4.

- competition with the Davis Cup -

If the craze around the competition was present in the stands as well as among the players, not sure that the ATP Cup, a new competition which brought together 24 national teams, has definitely won its place in an already busy calendar. Roger Federer (family reasons), Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori (injured) were not there.

"It's a great competition but, at the same time, I can't help but think that (playing editor's note) two World Cups in a month is not tenable," said Nadal, referring to the Cup Davis, in similar format and disputed six weeks earlier.

Serbian Novak Djokovic, who chairs the ATP players' council, said nothing else earlier this month. "We have to have a big World Cup, whatever you call it."

The ATP Cup is organized by the men's circuit, the ATP, while the Davis Cup is managed by the International Tennis Federation (IFT). "We have to find a way to settle this and find an agreement between the IFT and ATP" reaffirmed the Marjorquin.

© 2020 AFP