Novak Djokovic has revealed he hopes his great rival Roger Federer can play at least one more match due to the Swiss' importance to tennis. The Serb believes Federer deserves to end his illustrious career on his own terms, or at least have a "proper farewell" if he is unable to continue playing long-term.
Federer recently confirmed to the Tribune de Geneve that he will definitely miss the 2022 Australian Open. The 40-year-old also admitted he would be "incredibly surprised" if he were to play at next summer's Wimbledon Championships.
The Swiss great underwent a third knee surgery in 18 months in August after aggravating the issue at Wimbledon. The 20-time Major champion has played just five events since the 2020 Australian Open.
In a press conference at the 2021 ATP Finals, Djokovic paid tribute to Federer's impact on tennis and expressed his desire to see the Swiss return to the tour.
“Obviously Roger is an icon of our sport and people around the world love him,” Djokovic said. “They love watching him play, love seeing him around. He’s very important for our sport on and off the court. So for the sake of our sport, I sincerely hope that we can see him play at least another time."
Djokovic is confident Federer will do whatever he can to compete again so as to not be forced into retirement through injury. The World No. 1 also asserted that the Swiss is entitled to end his career the way he wishes, given what he has done for the sport.
“I’m sure he doesn’t want to end his career this way," Djokovic continued. "I think he’s gonna definitely try to give it a last push, a last try. I’m not sure what his injury is, and I know he’s been struggling with a knee for quite a few years. So yeah, let’s see.”
“I think for everything that he has achieved and created for this sport, he deserves to play and he deserves to have a proper farewell," Djokovic added. "I mean, if his injury is not allowing him to play, so to say, more frequently on the tour.”
Novak Djokovic seals semifinal spot at ATP Finals
Novak Djokovic - a five-time ATP Finals winner - booked his spot in the last four of this year's event with his straight-sets victory over Andrey Rublev in Turin. The 34-year-old is guaranteed to finish top of the Green Group following his 6-3, 6-2 triumph over the Russian.
Djokovic can equal Roger Federer's record of six ATP Finals triumphs if he claims the 2021 title. The Serb last won the event in 2015.