ATP Cup 2020: Novak Djokovic vs Kevin Anderson, match preview and prediction
Novak Djokovic will get his 2020 season underway playing for Serbia at the newly-minted ATP Cup. His opponent in the first matchup for the season would be the big-serving South African Kevin Anderson.
The duo's on-court rivalry goes back over a decade, with Anderson getting the better of Djokovic in their first meeting at the 2008 Miami Masters 1000.
Since then however, it has been all Djokovic, with the Serb winning 8 of the 9 next meetings between the two, the latest of which was a straight set win at the 2018 Nitto ATP Tour Finals.
Despite the lop-sided record, Anderson would fancy his chances against Djokovic for a couple of reasons. First up, he is well rested, having taken time off with a couple of minor injuries and looked confident in his pre-tournament press conferences.
Anderson talked about his practice sessions focusing on getting match-ready for the new season. Also, before taking time off of the tour, Anderson was playing some of his best tennis (having come off of a career-best season in 2018 and lifting the 2019 Maharashtra Open trophy).
He is also in a good frame of mind, having spent the reminder of 2019 with his family (he had a child with his wife during the time) and is seems to be enjoying the role of a leader within South African camp.
The presence of a good second singles player in Lloyd Harrison is a boost to the dugout and might as well transfer into the individual game of the players.
That said, Djokovic has done well against big-serving opponents like Anderson, owing mostly to his exceptional returning skills. If the Serb manages to neutralise the South African's biggest weapon, he will have a very good chance to scoring a confidence building win early on in the season.
Prediction: Djokovic to win in three sets.