June 11, 2024

Roger Federer believes Novak Djokovic is a little bit “misunderstood” in the eyes of the media and fans alike, mainly because he arrived at the scene as a “party crasher” during his and Rafael Nadal’s prime years. The Swiss icon believes that simply because there was a lot of love for him and Nadal among tennis fans at the time, they didn’t like the idea of Djokovic interrupting that.

Federer and Nadal met for the first time on the ATP Tour in 2004, when the Swiss was already a Grand Slam champion. Nadal won his maiden Slam the next year at the 2005 French Open. In subsequent years, the duo rapidly became the pillar stones of men’s tennis, playing several classic encounters that caught the imagination of fans.It was at that time that Djokovic broke onto the tour, winning the ATP Most Improved Player of the Year award in 2007. The next year, Djokovic won his maiden Major, taking down Federer in the semifinals of the Australian Open before beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for the title.

Speaking of Djokovic in his upcoming ‘Federer: Twelve Final Days’ documentary, the 20-time Grand Slam champion reflected on how the Serb’s ‘strong’ personality put him off to some prospective fans. The former World No. 1 also feels that the Serb’s determination and focus might have scared some people off, especially when contrasted with his own easy-going nature.

“I guess he was the party crasher of Rafa and Roger fans. There was a lot of Rafa-Roger love there, so when Novak came probably a lot of people said, ‘Look, we don’t need a third guy. We’re happy with Roger and Rafa,’” Roger Federer said.

“The Federer fans at the beginning didn’t really like him because they just thought, ‘Roger’s a bit more easy, he does it with ease’. Then Novak came in with his strong personality and that unbelievable grit of wanting to win at all costs. I think also Novak was triggered by the relationship with the fans. I think that deep focus maybe scared some people away,” he added.



As for his own impression of the World No. 3, Roger Federer feels that when he looked at Djokovic beyond just what was portrayed in the media, he saw some who cared very deeply about his family.

“I think he’s been a little bit misunderstood. I look past the media and I see at the end the man he is. If I take away his game, who is he? What are his values? I know he cares very deeply about his family,” Roger Federer said.

Novak Djokovic leads Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in their head-to-head


Despite fans considering Novak Djokovic as nothing more than a “party crasher” for Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer early on, the Serb has made sure that the numbers back him up in the GOAT debate. He leads both Federer (27-23) and Nadal (30-29).He also has more Grand Slams than both (24 compared to 22 for Nadal and 20 for Federer), more Masters 1000 titles than both (40 for Djokovic vs 36 for Nadal and 28 for Federer) and more World No. 1 weeks than both. While Djokovic has 428 weeks at the top of the ATP rankings, Federer has 310 and Nadal 209.

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