'Hard to see this day': Novak Djokovic pens heartfelt tribute to retiring Roger Federer
Serbian tennis legend Novak Djokovic has paid tribute to long-time rival Roger Federer following the 41-year-old's announcement to retire from professional tennis after next week's Laver Cup.
In a moving tribute to one of his long-time rivals, Serbian ace Novak Djokovic on Friday penned an emotional note to Swiss maestro Roger Federer, who announced his plan to retire from professional tennis next week.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion announced the end of his 24-year-old career on Thursday, confirming the Laver Cup would be his final tournament. Since then tributes have poured in for Federer and Djokovic has finally broken his silence on the 41-year-old tennis great's shock announcement.
The world No 7 took to Instagram to post a series of photographs of himself with Federer as he shared a heartfelt message for the Swiss ace.
"Roger it's hard to see this day and put into words all that we've shared in this sport together," the 21-time Grand Slam champion wrote.
"Over a decade of incredible moments and battles to think back on. Your career has set the tone for what it means to achieve excellence and lead with integrity and poise. It's an honour to know you on and off court, and for many more years to come," Djokovic added.
The 35-year-old Serbian also sent a sweet message to Federer's family and fans. "I know that this new chapter will hold amazing things for you, Mirka, the kids, all your loved ones, and Roger fans still have a lot to look forward to. From our family to yours, we wish you much joy, health, and prosperity in the future," he stated.
Djokovic also mentioned next week's Laver Cup, as he shared his excitement to bid farewell to Federer's glorious career. "Looking forward to celebrating your achievements and seeing you in London. @rogerfederer," he concluded.
In the 2020 Australian Open semifinal, where Djokovic defeated Federer in straight sets, the two had their last competitive encounter. In the 50 matches the two have played against each other, the Sebian holds the head-to-head advantage at 27-23. In Grand Slam finals, Djokovic and Federer have faced each other five times with the Serb holding a 4-1 advantage over the Swiss.
The last final took place at Wimbledon in 2019. Federer lost the match against Djokovic after missing two championship points throughout the four hours and 48 minutes of play. When he defeated Nick Kyrgios in the Wimbledon final this year, Djokovic also surpassed Federer's record of 20 Grand Slam victories.
Djokovic now has seven victories at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet after his most recent victory at Wimbledon. Just one more would be needed to tie Federer's record of eight Wimbledon wins.