MADRID • Try telling Viktor Troicki, Janko Tipsarevic and their Serbian teammates the Davis Cup Finals do not matter.
Defeat was such a crushing blow for Tipsarevic, 35, that he said he felt like "committing suicide".
Troicki, 33, was also inconsolable after poking a routine volley out on Serbia's third match point in the deciding doubles rubber of their quarter-final with Russia on Friday.
He and Novak Djokovic could have won in the final-set tiebreak before Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov claimed a 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (10-8) victory at La Caja Magica to give the Russians a 2-1 win.
Troicki was a national hero in 2010 when he won the final point against France's Michael Llodra to clinch the Davis Cup in Belgrade, sparking unforgettable scenes in which the team, including Djokovic, shaved their heads on court before partying into the wee hours.
But this time there was just gut-wrenching despair as Serbia's hopes slipped away in the cruellest fashion imaginable.
In an emotional news conference, Troicki could barely raise his chin off his chest.
"I probably feel the worst ever. I never experienced such a moment in my career," he said.
"I let my team down and I apologise to them.
Match points Serbia's Viktor Troicki and Novak Djokovic could not put away and ended up losing to Russia's Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov in their Davis Cup quarter-final rubber.
"We were up in the tiebreak. We had chances to finish it. We didn't do it. I messed up.
"I don't know. God gave me the chance once to be the hero, to win the Davis Cup in the deciding rubber.
"I'm really disappointed."
World No. 2 Djokovic added: "It hurts, it hurts us really badly."
The Davis Cup Finals marked the close of the career of Tipsarevic, another of the 2010 heroes, and captain Nenad Zimonjic described it as the end of the golden generation.
"At the end, you win as a team and you lose as a team," he said as tears began to flow. "It was very emotional because it's Janko's last."
At that point virtually every team member began to cry and the media broke into applause.
"The main thing is that everybody here knows how much we care about each other, how much we love each other," he added.
Tipsarevic finished off the conference in forthright fashion.
"It's not the wins or the losses... This emotion that you want to commit suicide after a day like this," he said. "It's that this beautiful sport makes you tough."
In the semi-finals yesterday, Canada outlasted Russia 2-1 by winning the doubles and were due to meet Spain or Britain in today's final.
Final: StarHub Ch201, 11.30pm