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On The Attack


Nestor & Zimonjic© Getty ImagesDaniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic, circuit finale champions in 2008, will look to celebrate another triumph ahead of their children's second birthdays.

One’s a lefty, the other’s a righty, but they both love taking the game to their opponents. And this year they’ll be looking to repeat their 2008 title-winning run.

Together as a full-time partnership since 2008, Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic are one of the most successful doubles teams on the ATP World Tour. Between them they have won a staggering 108 titles during their careers – 70 courtesy of the Canadian half of the duo, and 38 courtesy of the Serbian half. Twenty-two of these titles, including three Grand Slams and the ATP World Tour’s season finale back in 2008, have been while they were partnering each other.

So what’s the secret to their success?

“Our attacking style is more aggressive than other teams.”

“You need a partner that will always back you up, and won’t ever play below a certain level,” Zimonjic explains. “That’s the key. Plus Daniel is a lefty and I’m right-handed, so our serves come at different angles with different rotations. It makes it very difficult for our opponents to make good returns. That’s definitely an advantage for doubles. This is definitely the best doubles partnership I’ve ever had.”

Nestor, who has partnered 45 players since he first embarked on the tour in the early 1990s, is equally complimentary of his current other half. “Our attacking style is maybe more aggressive than other teams,” he says. “When we do start playing well, we are difficult to beat. When we’re hot, we’re almost unstoppable.”

Despite being brought up on opposite sides of the globe, each half of this Serbian-Canadian duo has much in common. Both were born in Belgrade. Zimonjic still lives there, while Nestor relocated with his family to Canada at the age of four. But he has relatives in the old country and can just about get by speaking Serbian.

Nestor, Zimonjic“Together we speak English,” says Zimonjic. “Daniel understands a little bit of Serbian. His parents and his wife speak it. But it’s much easier for us in English.”

Nevertheless, the Balkan connection has strengthened the union between the two players. “Daniel’s Canadian really,” Zimonjic says. “He grew up there, he lived all his life there. But through his parents he can understand how we are in Serbia. That really helps us in tennis.”

The other common ground both players share is that they are at similar stages of fatherhood. Zimonjic and his wife Mina welcomed their twins, Leon and Luna, into the world in December 2008. Twelve days later Nestor’s wife Natasha gave birth to their daughter Tiana.

“Okay, it’s a little more difficult with twins,” admits Zimonjic. “But we both understand what it’s like to have a family. We understand what’s going on and we’re pretty much going through the same things.”

This year, when Nestor and Zimonjic come out on court here at The O2, there will be three little ones cheering louder than most.   

Story reproduced with permission from the official Barclays ATP World Tour Finals tournament program. Order your copy online:

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