Canada's Vasek Pospisil draws Djokovic in Davis Cup opener
Raonic is 3-0 lifetime versus Serb rival Tipsarevic
Vancouver's Vasek Pospisil will open the Davis Cup semifinals against top-ranked Novak Djokovic when Canada takes on host Serbia at Belgrade Arena on Friday .
Canada's top player, Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., will face Janko Tipsarevic in the other singles match drawn Thursday. The doubles will be played Saturday and reverse singles on Sunday.
The 23-year-old Pospisil, ranked 41st in the world, has never played Djokovic before.
"I have seen him play on TV lots of times, but it's going to be completely different on the court," Pospisil said. "I hope to learn as the match progresses."
Djokovic said he hopes to recover from the change of the time zones and jet leg after losing the U.S. Open final to Rafael Nadal on Monday.
"I arrived [Wednesday], but it's not the first time that I have one or two days to get ready," said Djokovic, who lost to Nadal in four sets in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
"I know my body and I hope I can prepare for the opening match."
Making things even more difficult for the 26-year-old Serb is the choice of an indoor clay court — originally picked by the hosts to dampen Raonic's booming serve — that he will have to adjust to in the middle of the hard-court season.
"It's obvious that I'm tired — time zones, jet lag plus adjustment to the clay — but I feel fine and have a lot of motivation playing for my country," Djokovic said.
|DAVIS CUP SEMIFINALS||CANADA||SERBIA|
|1. Singles, Fri 10 am ET||Vasek Pospisil (41)||Novak Djokovic (1)|
|2. Singles, Fri TBA||Milos Raonic (11)||Janko Tipsarevic (23)|
|3. Doubles, Sat 10 am ET||Nestor/Pospisil||Bozoljac/Zimonjic|
|4. Singles, Sun 8 am ET||Milos Raonic (11)||Novak Djokovic (1)|
|5. Singles, Sun TBA||Vasek Pospisil (41)||Janko Tipsarevic (23)|
Canada has never made it this far in the Davis Cup, while Serbia won the event in 2010.
Raonic said Serbia is the favourite, "but that doesn't mean we don't have our chances."
The towering Canadian, who has climbed to 11th in the world rankings, said he made progress in his clay-court play.
"I'm now playing better on clay and I feel very confident now on the surface," Raonic said.
Tipsarevic, once a Top 10 player who has recently dropped in the rankings to 23rd after a string of injuries, said he hopes to do better against Raonic after losing their three encounters so far.
"Raonic's serve will be a crucial factor," Tipsarevic said. "If I can muster that segment, I think I have a chance."
The winner will face either the Czech Republic or Argentina in the final in November.
The Canadians seemed relaxed Thursday. Raonic and Pospisil warmed up by throwing a football around and kicking a soccer ball over the net before a vigorous training session.
Daniel Nestor arrived later with the rest of the staff for a final game of soccer tennis before the team marched in for the draw.
In the doubles on Saturday, Nestor and Pospisil will be taking on Ilija Bozoljac and Nenad Zimonic. Bozoljac is a last-second change, replacing Dusan Lajovic.
Nestor and Zimonic were partners between 2008 and 2010. The pair won three Grand Slam titles together so they know each other well. Nestor is more concerned with Lajovic.
"I think Bozoljac brings something new to the table and we have to be prepared for him," said Nestor. "He's a big hitter and a shot-maker and we have to try and take him off his game."