Novak Djokovic: 'Roger Federer is the ultimate champion, regardless of his age'



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Novak Djokovic: 'Roger Federer is the ultimate champion, regardless of his age'

Since their first clash in Monte Carlo 2006, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have forged one of the greatest rivalries in tennis history, battling numerous times for the most notable titles. Novak Djokovic has been the player of the season so far, winning the Australian Open and Cincinnati and reaching another final in Rome.

Speaking about his rivalry with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, Novak said he would love to see their GOAT battle going on for a couple of more years, backing Roger to overcome the injury and return stronger in 2021. Praising the Swiss, Djokovic said he is one of the players to watch regardless of the age, reminding everyone that Roger is still capable of reaching Major finals.

After playing only one tournament in 2020, Roger Federer is yet to announce his first stop in the upcoming season. The 20-time Major champion had to skip all the events after the Australian Open, undergoing two knee surgeries and planning to return in January next year.

Spending a couple of months at his home with family due to surgeries and a coronavirus outbreak, Roger is back at business, training with his physio Pierre Paganini and hoping to hit the court again in a couple of weeks.

With his team around him, Roger will try to bounce back strongly like in 2017, missing the second part of the 2016 season due to knee issues for the most extended career break until this one. In 2017, 2018 and 2019, Federer was the closest rival of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, fighting for big titles and leaving much younger opponents behind him.

Federer lifted four ATP trophies in the previous season, including the 28th Masters 1000 title in Miami. At Wimbledon, Roger was the better player than Novak Djokovic, squandering two match points and losing all three tie breaks to stay empty-handed, still finishing the year inside the top-3.

Novak Djokovic hopes to see healthy Roger Federer in 2021.

Federer had decided to skip the ATP Cup for Switzerland at the beginning of 2020, taking more time on the practice court ahead of the Australian Open, reaching the semis in Melbourne after a rollercoaster ride.

In the third round, Roger trailed 8-4 in the fifth-set tie break against John Millman, rattling off six straight points and avoiding an early exit. Federer struggled with a groin injury in the quarters against Tennys Sandgren, fending off no less than seven match points in the fourth set to prevail in the decider.

Novak Djokovic proved to be too strong in the semis, beating Roger in straight sets in what has been the last official match for the Swiss so far. In February, Roger announced a knee surgery planning to return in June for the grass-swing in Halle and Wimbledon.

Nonetheless, Federer failed to eliminate the knee pain, undergoing another surgery in May and deciding to skip the rest of the season and get ready for 2021. "Roger Federer is injured and will not compete for the rest of the season; still, I'm sure he will come back.

Regardless of his age, he's always the favorite. You know, if he feels good physically, he should be up there fighting for the titles. Roger keeps on proving to everyone that he can make it, reaching Major finals in the last couple of years.

The race for most Major trophies is there, and it should be a great one if all three of us remain healthy for a couple more years," Novak Djokovic said.