Djokovic’s Heartfelt Tribute to Federer
Roger Federer announced on Friday that he will retire after the Laver Cup this month, and Novak Djokovic sent the Swiss tennis legend a heartfelt farewell.
24 hours after Federer announced his retirement, Djokovic responded by saying they had “almost a decade of wonderful moments and battles to remember back on.”
Rafael Nadal also paid tribute to the 41-year-old, and Serena Williams welcomed him to the “retirement club” as the American retired from tennis earlier this month.
On Thursday, Federer acknowledged that his struggles with a knee issue had forced him to end a legendary career that had produced 20 Grand Slam victories and established him as one of the game’s most graceful players.
His declaration was not entirely unexpected because he hasn’t played since losing in the Wimbledon quarterfinals in 2021, following which he underwent his third knee surgery in 18 months.
Federer said his body has delivered him “a message” after being limited to just three of the 11 Grand Slam events since the beginning of 2020 because of knee issues.
Djokovic stood out by his absence from the tributes on Thursday because he is six years younger than Federer and has won Grand Slams as the Swiss player’s abilities have waned.
Roger, it’s difficult to see this day and put into words all that we have shared in this sport together, he stated a day later. The two competed in 17 Grand Slam matches, including five finals, with Djokovic holding an 11-6 advantage in their head-to-head record.
The Serb wrote on social media, “Your career has set the tone for what it takes to accomplish excellence and lead with integrity and poise.”
It’s a privilege to know you both on and off the court, and for many years to come.
After Serena, 40, retired after losing in the third round of the US Open earlier this month, tennis has now lost two of its biggest stars in fast succession.
Serena, who won 23 major championships, wrote on Instagram, “I wanted to find the right way to express this, as you so eloquently lay this game to rest – flawlessly done, just like your career.”
“I have always liked and looked up to you. Our journeys were almost usually very identical. We shall never forget how you inspired uncountable millions and millions of others, including me.
Fans and experts have questioned how the sport would fare if it lost some of its most marketable players.