Novak Djokovic led the field at the last year's ATP 500 event in Dubai, seeking the fifth title in the desert and hoping to maintain his perfect record in 2020. The world's leading player claimed the eighth Australian Open crown and passed Rafael Nadal on the ATP throne ahead of his next test in Dubai.
Roger Federer was supposed to be the 2nd seed, but the Swiss missed the Dubai title defense, struggling with a knee injury and undergoing surgery to skip Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami and Roland Garros. Novak and Roger have been the fearsome rivals on the court for 15 years, playing for the notable titles and always respecting each other and what they have achieved and given to tennis.
Asked about Roger ahead of his Dubai campaign, Novak said he was sad when he heard the news.
Novak Djokovic spoke about Roger Federer's injury in Dubai last year.
Like all the others, Djokovic knew nothing about Federer's injury, hoping the 20-time Major champion would return as soon as possible, as our sport needs him.
Djokovic and Federer met in the semi-final of the Australian Open a month before Dubai, and Novak scored a victory in straight sets after erasing the deficit in the opener. The oldest Major semi-finalist in almost 30 years made a great start against the seven-time Australian Open winner before Novak took charge, overcoming the initial deficit to steal the opener and never looking back in 7-6, 6-4, 6-3 triumph.
As we all know, it was Roger's only tournament in 2020, undergoing another surgery in May and wrapping up his year after only six matches. "It was a surprise to hear about Roger Federer's injury and surgery. I knew he was struggling with an injury in the Australian Open, but I think no one knew what the injury was and how serious it was.
I do not like to see anybody going through a process of surgery; I've been through that once and, hopefully, the last time in my life. I know that that's a routine-like procedure for doctors, but it's quite invasive.
I know it also creates psychological trauma. I'm sad to see Roger Federer and Kevin Anderson going through those kinds of procedures; I hope that they will be back very soon. Roger is Roger, and the sport needs him," Novak Djokovic said.