The one between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic is a total challenge. To chase Rafael Nadal's 21 Slams (possible for the Serb, utopia for the Swiss, the last probably in his last tennis career season). But also for other records and goals.
Djokovic starts with an advantage: age. What can stop it? Tournament restrictions caused by the pandemic, like everything that happened on the eve of the Australian Open. But now the Serb is playing in Dubai, where there is a record that belongs to Roger.
Novak Djokovic talked about the difficulty of breaking Roger Federer's record of 8 wins at the Emirates tournament. The world number one is currently stuck at 5 titles and this week he will have the chance to close the gap by competing for the sixth triumph.
Djokovic will make his debut in a few hours against the 19-year-old from Carrara and has the underdogs all on his side. The Serbian tennis player, following the events related to his vaccination status, did not participate in the tournaments of the first part of the season, including the Australian Open, and has not played an official match since last year.
There is therefore a lot of curiosity in finding out what his current state of form is and what his reaction will be on the field to everything that has been written and said in recent months.
Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer: a total challenge
The 20-time slam champion at the press conference called the possibility of reaching Roger Federer's title record in Dubai a rather risky hypothesis: "It is quite unlikely, I would say.
He has won it eight times. I think I have won it five times. I don't know for how many years I will still be able to play at a high level and be one of the contenders to win the tournament." Roger Federer won his first title at the Dubai Tennis Championships in 2003, defeating Jiri Novak in the final.
The former world number 1 also triumphed in the following two years, defeating Feliciano Lopez and Ivan Ljubicic respectively in the final. In 2006, Federer lost to Rafael Nadal in the final, but the following year he made up for his fourth title by beating Mikhail Youzhny in the final.
After the 2012 victory over Andy Murray, the Swiss champion triumphed two years in a row with victories over Tomas Berdych and Novak Djokovic in their respective finals, then clinching his eighth and final title in Dubai in 2019 by beating Stefanos Tsitsipas.