Novak Djokovic returns to battle three weeks after his last match when he leads Serbia against young-gun Russia in the first round of the Davis Cup World Group from Friday.

The number two was busted out of the Australian Open second round in five sets by Denis Istomin.

But the hero of a 2010 Serbian title in the worldwide team competition, is keen to get stuck in as he plays Friday's second singles; Viktor Troicki starts the weekend facing Russian Karen Khachanov. 

Djokovic believes the home atmosphere will be a great aid to his side.

"Playing Davis Cup is like coming home and being with family," the 29-year old said. "The atmosphere will help us give maximum effort.

The weekend won't be easy, Russia have a young talented team. They are all 100, and can all play singles and doubles.

"Every year we hope to repeat 2010 and get our hands on that trophy. We are all motivated and will try to feed off of the home energy and get a win."

2016 finalist Croatia take on Spain with both sides lacking. The Spaniards don't have Rafael Nadal while Marin Cilic is missing for the hosts. Croatian Franko Skugar starts the singles in Osljek against Robert Bautista Agut.

In Frankfurt, Philip Kohlschreiber opens for Germany against Belgium as he plays Steve Darcis, followed by Alexander Zverev against Arthur De Greef; holder Argentina, playing in Buenos Aires without injured Juan Martin del Potro, take on Italy, with Guido Pella facing Paolo Lorenzi.

In Melbourne Jordan Thompson will do it tough to start his Davis Cup career, with the youngster being drawn to open against the Czech Republic and against Jiri Vesely.

Australia are without Bernard Tomic while the visitors are missing Tomas Berdych.

De facto team inspiration Nick Kyrgios will then play Jan Satral. 

"It's great for Thommo (Thompson) because he can get out there and get straight into it," Kyrgios said.

"He doesn't have to wait on the side and let the pressure build. I'm happy with that because I've played a lot of Davis Cup matches. I'm excited for tomorrow."

In Tokyo, the French, who are missing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils, will take on Japan, who are without Kei Nishikori.

Richard Gasquet will start against Taro Daniel at the Ariake Colosseum while Gilles Simon plays Yoshihito Nishioka in the second singles. France have not played Japan for 36 years, with the three previous ties all being held in Europe.  

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