Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have been very fierce on-court rivals but unlike the Swiss maestro’s easy off-court relationship with Rafael Nadal, things haven’t been that easy with the Serb. Until the Laver Cup that is.
Having played in the Laver Cup for the first time, Djokovic partnered with Federer in a doubles match – other than featuring in one other singles encounter – and things looked to have eased out a lot between the two.
There have been reports of bad blood between Federer and Djokovic in the past, with incidents like the one at the 2011 US Open, the 2015 World Tour Finals or Djokovic’s former coach Boris Becker writing in his autobiography how the duo didn’t like each other.
At the 2011 US Open semi-finals, Federer said of a Djokovic slap-forehand winner that he had grown up working hard on his game and didn’t believe in lucky shots.
Then at the year-ending 2015 World Tour Finals, Djokovic lost to Federer and remarked at the press conference:
“Credit to Roger for mixing up the pace, giving me always a different ball. He used the slice and spin very wisely. He served very efficiently. I made a lot of, lot of unforced errors. Just handed him the win, especially in the second set.”
Federer took an exception to the last part saying Djokovic played that way because of the way the Swiss champion forced him to do. Interestingly, Djokovic and Federer met again in the final of that event and this time, the Serb managed to get past his opponent.
And then there was the Becker book, in which he’s claimed how the pair has never got along. He said they didn’t like each other and went on to talk about Federer’s good-boy image and the money he made out of it.
Things, however, could be cooling off between the two fierce rivals, especially off the court, after this previous edition of the Laver Cup in which they played for Team Europe. With Rafael Nadal missing from action, Djokovic joined the Team Europe camp and while he did not win either of his matches, his camaraderie with Federer was much to watch.
— Laver Cup (@LaverCup) September 22, 2018
It would be interesting to watch how the two go from here on given they will be fighting for that elusive, year-ending number one spot going into the Shanghai and Paris Masters and the ATP World Tour Finals along with Rafael Nadal.