'That's the only way to look at Roger Federer, Nadal, Djokovic', says expert

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'That's the only way to look at Roger Federer, Nadal, Djokovic', says expert

We had been waiting for Roger Federer for so long that when he arrived we had to look twice to see if it was really him or someone else. Junior world number one, semifinalist at the Sydney Olympics at 19, winner of the legendary Pete Sampras in the second round of Wimbledon 2001 -Pistol Pete came from four consecutive wins in London, seven in eight years-, Federer saw how his own generation was ahead of him on all sides: Marat Safin had won the US Open in 2000, at the age of 20 and Lleyton Hewitt would do it the following year at the same age, confirming his dominance on the circuit with the victory at Wimbledon 2002 against another boy born in the early 80's, David Nalbandian.

In 2003, Juan Carlos Ferrero joined the party getting his first Roland Garros, while Andy Roddick was fighting to reach a number one that he would achieve at the end of the year, just after winning the US Open playing at an extraordinary level.

That was the tennis of the early 2000s. The tennis that Federer was called upon to master but seemed to be neglecting him. A player of a huge class but a lousy competitor, the Swiss was about to turn 22 with only one appearance in the quarterfinals of a grand slam tournament, precisely the one he achieved after defeating Sampras.

When his talent seemed called to be lost among his own demons and anger on the court, Peter Lundgren arrived and changed everything: with his new coach, Roger stood at Wimbledon 2003, beat Roddick in the semifinals and prevailed comfortably in the final at the Australian Mark Philipoussis, another "young gun" of the time.

In a recent interview with B92, Novak Djokovic’s father Srdjan Djokovic took yet another shot at Roger Federer (and Rafael Nadal). Srdjan expressed hope that Federer keeps playing on the tour, just so that Novak can increase his head-to-head lead over the Swiss.

Srdjan has targeted Roger Federer with his comments

"I would like Roger Federer to play for another 5-6 years to make the difference in the mutual score even bigger," Srdjan Djokovic said. The 60-year-old replied in the negative, but he did point out that players like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic cannot be on the best terms personally given that they are such fierce rivals on the court.

"I don't notice (the animosity) anymore," Novak's father said. "The three of them are the best players in history, they pulled each other (forward). That's the only way to look at them. It's very difficult to be friends with someone with whom you fight for No.

1, for titles, for money." The Serbia Open is returning to the ATP calendar in 2021 after a gap of eight long years. "It's normal that he will play," Novak Djokovic's father said. "A family tournament, it is played in his city, his country. Well, that would be amazing. With the greatest pleasure, the greatest pride, he will play."