“I grew up with Viktor, the last one we played was really tough because we had match points against Russia in the quarters of the Davis Cup and we lost. Coming in today, we managed to lift the energy and get out of that mini-crisis we had at the beginning of the super tie break.
“You saw the atmosphere, it was phenomenal. The Serbian people, I didn’t expect so many of them to stay. Being on Christmas Day with us, post-midnight, it was amazing. For me, it was a great day in the office.
“We qualified as the best team in the group, secured our place, we know we’re going to play on Friday so it’s great to have a clear schedule in front of us so we can adjust in the next days.”
Christmas Day is celebrated on January 7 in the Serbian Orthodox calendar and the Serbians would deliver a welcome gift for their fans, although the French were the ones with the early advantage after the hirsute world No. 24 Benoit Paire (24) prevailed against a Dusan Lajovic 6-2 6-7(6) 6-4.
Djokovic would swoop in to save the day against the dangerous Gael Monfils, who had more than enough chances to get on top at various stages but was unable to win the decisive points.
It ended with Djokovic winning 6-3 6-2, a triumph that would take his career tally against Monfils to a staggering 16-0.
Neither Djokovic nor Troiki are doubles specialists but they produced their best tennis at the pointy end of a thrilling contest that at one point saw Djokovic lose a point on review after he encroached on the net following a volley.
Serbia have one tie left against Chile on Wednesday but have advanced regardless of the result.