So this was kind of a big deal.
When I think about what Serbia was able to accomplish, not just this year but over the course of the past three years to qualify for World Group, three words come to mind: team, resilience, and pride.
Team: These are the same four players who have been playing together for over three years. The bonds reflect that. All I have to know about this team was what I saw on Friday. After Novak won the second rubber, he ran over to the bench and started high fiving everyone in the team box. When he saw Janko, he stopped and grabbed him, giving him a big hug and kissing his head. He could have easily just given him a high five. But Nole took the moment to let Tipsy know that the team was still with him and that the tie wasn't over. Brothers in arms, standing together, at the end of a long journey. You could see that they were not only happy for themselves, but happy for each other. Amazing.
Resilience: Serbia becomes the 13th nation to hoist the Davis Cup and only the second unseeded team to win it. They do so after blowing a 2-0 lead in the doubles rubber on Saturday with Viktor, who struggled in the last three sets of that doubles match, rebounding to take a straight set victory over Mikey Llodes, who had been unbeaten in Davis Cup all year. Let's also not forget Janko's heroic semifinal wins over Tomas and Radek to get them here. And of course, Novak Djokovic. It's hard to imagine the amount of pressure he must have felt all year as the Serbs made their run. But the sometimes fickle-flower went undefeated all year in singles. The Serbs are a stubborn people. In this case that stubborness translated into immovable...
Pride: Has there been a Davis Cup in recent memory that meant more to a nation? Scrap that. Has there been a Davis Cup in recent memory that meant more, period? Am I trading in hyperbole? I honestly don't think so. I'm not Serbian, I wasn't at the tie, and maybe I'm totally talking out of my ass here, but didn't it feel as though all of Serbia had its eyes on Belgrade Arena this weekend? FOR TENNIS. A sport that was considered "a girl's sport" for so many years. The only comparable I can think of is if Andy Murray wins Wimbledon. But even then I don't think it will compare to what happened for the nation of Serbia, the four men who became national heroes, or the sport of tennis in that country in the span of 72 hours. You can see it in every single picture that has beamed out across the world.
Congrats to Serbia and to all the Serbian fans around the world. Thanks for letting the rest of us tag along. This was awesome.
(Pics: Getty, AFP, Reuters)