Novak Djokovic: 'I hope Roger Federer will be back very soon. Tennis needs him'

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Novak Djokovic: 'I hope Roger Federer will be back very soon. Tennis needs him'

The four-time champion Novak Djokovic will headline the draw in the desert for the first time since 2016, standing as the top seed and the favorite to lift the crown and maintain his perfect record so far in 2020. World no.

1 claimed wins in all 13 matches so far this season, winning the inaugural ATP Cup for Serbia over Spain and defending the Australian Open title to lift the eighth crown in Melbourne, retrieving 2000 points and passing Rafael Nadal to claim the ATP throne again.

Novak will play his first-round match on Monday against Malek Jaziri, hoping for a strong run and another excellent performance after taking a well-deserved break from those encounters down under. Roger Federer was supposed to be the 2nd seed but the Swiss will miss Dubai and all the events he planned to play before June, struggling with a knee injury and undergoing surgery on Wednesday, withdrawing from Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami and Roland Garros.

Novak and Roger have been the fearsome rivals on the court for almost 15 years now, playing for the big titles and always respecting each other and what they have achieved and give to tennis. Asked about Roger, Novak said he was sad when he heard the news, knowing nothing about Roger's injury just like all the others but hoping the 20-time Major champion will return as soon as possible, as our sport needs him.

Djokovic and Federer met in the semi-final of the Australian Open a month ago, with Novak scoring a win in straight sets after erasing the deficit in the opener. "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 is and how serious it is. I don't 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 for doctors, that's a routine-like procedure 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."