Australian Open 2024: Novak Djokovic's sheds light on early friction with Roger Federer
Novak Djokovic discloses Roger Federer's disapproval of his early behaviour during their tennis rivalry, adding a layer of complexity to their relationship.
Novak Djokovic has disclosed a significant revelation about his relationship with Roger Federer during the Australian Open 2024. Following his third-round victory, Djokovic admitted that Federer disliked his behaviour in the early stages of their storied tennis rivalry. The Serbian star, who reached the fourth round of the tournament, reflected on the dynamic with Federer, highlighting the contrasting personalities that marked the beginning of their encounters.
The Djokovic-Federer rivalry, which commenced in 2006, saw Federer initially dominating until Djokovic claimed his first victory in 2007. With a head-to-head record of 27–23 in Djokovic's favour, including notable meetings in finals and Grand Slam semifinals, their matches have been characterised by an unpredictable display of shot-making. Djokovic revealed that Federer, his former teammate in the Laver Cup in 2022, disapproved of his behaviour during their initial interactions on the tennis circuit.
In his post-match comments after defeating Tomas Etcheverry, Djokovic acknowledged that he was not the favoured type among some top players because of his unabashed declaration of aspiring to be the best player in the world. Despite this, Djokovic emphasised that he never lacked respect and always adhered to the importance of sportsmanship. Reflecting on his two-decade-long professional career, Djokovic expressed difficulty recalling specific sentiments from other players about his demeanour on the court.
Respect, according to Djokovic, has been a fundamental principle in his approach to the game, and he consistently greeted opponents with acknowledgment and sportsmanship before, during, and after matches. As he navigates through the Australian Open 2024, Djokovic's revelation adds depth to the layers of his complex relationship with Federer and other top players on the tennis circuit.