Novak Djokovic challenges Roger Federer: "I want to face you on a ski slope!"

The Serbian tennis player saluted his rival after defeating Rublev in the quarterfinals of the 2023 Australian Open

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Novak Djokovic challenges Roger Federer: "I want to face you on a ski slope!"

In the on court interview that followed Novak Djokovic's victory against Andrey Rublev in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open 2023, the Serbian champion happened to quote former Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer, citing old memories of past finals: "I think I lost the first Slam final against Roger." At the name of the former tennis player, the audience exploded with applause; thus the semifinalist of this edition of the Australian Open paid homage to his rival.

"Let's have a big round of applause, he deserves it. I've had great battles against Roger over the years. Of course Roger Federer is missing from tennis. I saw him dressed in a very elegant way at Fashion Week!" the twenty-one-time Grand Slam champion laughed, referring to the photos that see the former tennis player on the catwalk at the annual Fashion Week in Paris together with his wife Mirka.

Before Fashion Week, however, Roger Federer dedicated himself to another sporting activity, which he hadn't done for 17 years: skiing. When asked if he saw the Swiss champion on the ski slope, with the video he himself published on social media, Djokovic replies: "Yes I saw him, I want to challenge him on the ski slope.

He is enjoying life, it's nice to see him again considering who was one of my greatest rivals on the tennis court. So I send my best regards to him and his family."

Nole and Roger have faced each other 50 times, with the balance of 27-23 in favor of the Serbian.

It is the second most played rivalry in the Open era after the one between Spaniard Rafael Nadal and Dokovic himself. It is, however, the largest in the history of Grand Slam tournaments, with 17 matches played. From the year of Federer's first title (Wimbledon 2003) to that of his retirement (September 23, 2022) the two have won a total of 41 of the 77 Grand Slam titles, 21 for the Serbian and 20 for the Swiss.

Dokovic holds the record for most Australian Open wins (9, including 3 consecutive). Federer, on the other hand, boasts the record of successes at Wimbledon (8), the record of victories at the US Open (5, tied with Sampras and Connors).

Below is a schematic list of winners of Grand Slam tournaments. Even in the ATP Masters Series/ATP Tour Masters 1000 tournaments the two rivals dominated the scene. From 2004 (before that year Federer had won only one of these tournaments, in Hamburg in 2002) to 2022 (year of Federer's retirement) they have in fact won 66 of the 158 tournaments played in this category, 38 Dokovic (all-time record) and 28 Rogers.

The two also hold the victories records in the individual Masters of Indian Wells (Federer, five records held in cohabitation with Novak Đoković), Monte-Carlo (Nadal, eleven), Rome (Nadal, ten), Hamburg/Madrid (Federer and Nadal , five) and Cincinnati (Federer, seven).