Novak Djokovic arrived in London on Tuesday, joining Roger Federer in the fifth edition of the Laver Cup. Novak and Roger met on the court at the O2 Arena, and the Serb is honored to compete on the same team in Roger's last tournament of his career.
Federer will end his tennis career on Friday, deciding to retire after three knee operations and a long struggle to return to competition injury-free. Novak and Roger met in that memorable 2019 Wimbledon final, the last at a Majors for the Swiss.
The Serb saved two match points and won in just under five hours. Two great rivals played their last match at the 2020 Australian Open, when Novak cruised to victory in the semi-finals. Federer and Djokovic competed on the same side of the court during Novak's previous visit to the Laver Cup in Chicago 2018.
The Swiss and the Serb took the opportunity to play their first and only doubles match on an opening day. They faced Jack Sock and Kevin Anderson and suffered a 6-7, 6-3, 10-6 loss in one hour and 35 minutes. Novak and Roger fought well, especially in the first set.
Still, it wasn't enough for a win after losing ground on the return in the match's tie break. Anderson and Sock gave up just 13 points after their opening blow. They kept the second serve safe and never got broken. Federer and Djokovic experienced a break in the second set and couldn't find their rhythm in the decider.
King Roger is ready to say goodbye
Novak Djokovic is looking forward to playing alongside Roger Federer for the last time in a professional match. "I had an opportunity a few years ago to play with Roger in Team Europe and we had lots of fun.
It was nice to spend time together without direct competition and I enjoyed it. I respect Roger as a legendary tennis player but also for his family values. Roger kindly supported the work of my charity foundation back then and sat with me as we had a mini event called 'Breakfast with champions'," Djokovic said.
"It's really exciting to be joining Team Europe again. It is one of the few moments where you can play in a team environment with guys that you're normally competing against and to be joining Rafa, Roger and Andy – three of my biggest all-time rivals – it's going to be a truly unique moment in our sport," Novak Djokovic said via Hello Magazine.