“Difficult To Be Friends”: Novak Djokovic’s Father on Animosity Between His Son and Roger Federer

Published 03/31/2021, 8:20 AM EDT
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 30: Novak Djokovic of Serbia walks past Roger Federer of Switzerland during change of ends in their Men’s Singles Semifinal match on day eleven of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 30, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)


World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is one supremely talented competitor. He is often used as an example across all sports with regard to a professional athlete’s physicality. In recent years, there has not been a more dominant and complete player than the Serbian ace. As of now, the 33-year-old is a proud winner of eighteen Grand Slam titles. 

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Recently, Novak Djokovic’s father spoke about the rivalry his son shares with two other legends of the game, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Srdjan spoke in brief about Federer and of the tepid relation between his son and the Swiss maestro.

Over the years, Federer and Djokovic haven’t always been on the best of terms. While that has changed in the past few years, the equation the two share can sometimes seem a bit strained.

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Tennis – Australian Open – Men’s Singles Final – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates with the trophy after winning his final match against Russia’s Daniil Medvedev REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic push each other to the limit

Speaking more on this, Srdjan stated, “I don’t notice anymore. The three of them are the best players in history, they pulled each other. That’s the only way to look at them. It’s very difficult to be friends with someone with whom you fight for number 1, for titles, for money. But they are correct.”

(Quotes translated using Google Translate)

However, Djokovic’s father does hope Roger extends his stay on Tour and plays for a few more years before calling it a day. He wants the Swiss superstar to extend the gap between the Grand Slam titles won by his son and Rafa. At the moment, Federer and Nadal are on twenty Majors, whereas Djokovic is on eighteen.

Taking note of this, Srdjan further added, “I would like him to play for another 5-6 years to make the difference in the mutual score even bigger.”

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND: Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates victory with the trophy after the men’s singles final match against Andy Roddick of the USA on Day Thirteen of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, England. Federer won 5-7, 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 16-14. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Roger Federer missed on Tour for over a year

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Roger has not played in a Grand Slam event since the Australian Open last season. He was forced to undergo two knee surgeries, which forced him to sit out the rest of the 2020 season. He returned on Tour at the ATP Doha Open 2021 but could only win one match, losing the next one. In some exciting news for tennis fans, however, he has confirmed that he will play the French Open this year. 

Novak, on the other hand, began the year on a great note, winning the Australian Open for the ninth time in his career. Moreover, he also surpassed Roger in holding the number one ranking spot for the most number of weeks, beginning his 311th week on top of the rankings earlier in March. The Serb will next be seen on the clay courts in Monte Carlo.  

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Rohan Kollare

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Rohan Kollare is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. Rohan has a post-graduate diploma in Sports Management and a trophy cabinet adorned with accolades won in district and state-level tennis competitions. He has previously worked in Content Operations for Disney’s Hotstar for over a year, covering tennis and Formula One.

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