Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have played each other 50 times and counting so far, giving tennis one of its most celebrated and spectacular rivalries of all time. And recently, both Djokovic and Federer looked back on their storied rivalry and explained what it means to them.
During the latest ATP Uncovered episode, Novak Djokovic began by elaborating on the excitement he experiences every time he locks horns with Roger Federer. According to the Serb, their matches have the quality to transcend the very sport itself.
“I’ve played so many thrilling matches with him over the years,” Djokovic said. “Every time I step on court against him it’s thrilling, it’s very exciting because it kind of exceeds that match. It goes beyond the sport.”
Roger Federer on his part believes that rivalries are necessary in sport, and claimed that they help expand the viewership of tennis.
“I think actually rivalries are super important in sports, I think it also makes the game more popular,” Federer said.
From a playing perspective, the Swiss legend reckons that top-drawer rivalries help improve the level of each player. As such, Federer expressed his gratitude for being part of the rivalry with Novak Djokovic.
“I think you always need somebody who you can have a good rivalry with,” Federer continued. “With me and with Djokovic, thank God I had them, I think we get the best out of one another.”
Despite coming excruciatingly close at last year’s Wimbledon, Roger Federer hasn’t had much of a say in his recent matches with Novak Djokovic. In the six matches that the duo have played against each other since 2016, Federer has won just once (ATP Finals, 2019).
Novak Djokovic currently leads by a margin of 27-23 in the head-to-head.
Novak Djokovic and I match up well against each other: Roger Federer
Novak Djokovic is often lauded for his versatility, and his ability to play at the highest level on all surfaces. Roger Federer acknowledged that too, and noted how you need to be at ‘your best’ to overcome the Serb.
“Novak, obviously he can play on all the surfaces extremely well,” Federer said. “He always brings a certain level of play, which is extremely high, so to beat him you have to be at your best.”
Roger Federer also pointed out how both he and Novak Djokovic possess specific skill sets that do well against one another.
“He’s a great mover, and I have great coordination, so we match up well against each other,” Federer added.