Roger Federer ignored 20-year-old Novak Djokovic, didn’t want to say a single nice word about him and created a “beast” that wants to knock him down. Today, when some new 20-year-olds try to take Novak down, he treats them totally differently.
Source: YouTube/Tennis TV/Screenshot
The true face is not seen in victory, than in defeat, always was and always will be. Novak Djokovic also had to learn such a lesson as a “kid”, who until August 12, 2007, was for Roger Federer nobody and nothing. Until that day in Montreal, “some kid from Serbia”, who needlessly gets involved in his rivalry with Rafael Nadal, was not seriously interested in the best player in the world. He won it in the first four matches – with only two lost sets – however, that kid from Serbia didn’t give up and was looking for a way to change that…
On that warm August day in Montreal, absolutely everything changed. Novak won the Rogers Cup final (7:6, 2:6, 7:6), and Federer refused to accept that it was possible, arrogantly looking in the Serb’s direction. He didn’t want to congratulate him, he didn’t want to admit that he was better, he didn’t want to do anything to make Djokovic feel better at that moment. It was the fatal mistake that created it “the beast”and today she taught Djokovic how to be a better person and to see every young tennis player first as a friend.
Of the six defeats in 2023, three came against tennis players whom Novak Djokovic, after winning the final Masters in Turin, without any hesitation called “the new big three”. They were Holger Rune, Carlos Alcaraz and Janik Siner, whom he heartily congratulated on those victories, paying them respect by ranking them among his rivals. Federer couldn’t say that.
And not only does Djokovic show respect for them – win or lose – but even tries to build friendship. That’s why Novak’s staff immediately came to congratulate Sinerov after the defeat in Turin, that’s why Djokovic had “sparring matches” with Alcaraz, that’s why he trained with Rune as a child and encouraged him to be even better. In a way, he did the opposite of Federer, perhaps with the hope that he “wouldn’t create a new beast” that way, but primarily out of decency.
When Djokovic “ruined” Federer’s 26th birthday in Montreal, he stood next to him and talked about how “probably the best tennis player in history” (then he had 12 Grand Slams, and the record was held by Pete Sampras with 14), and the supposedly decent Swiss did not even smile. Even more as if Novak’s sentence hurt him “can’t win it all” and that “let the once young ones win“, but instead of returning compliments about what the future holds for Djokovic, he acted like an “insulted bride”. He didn’t want such a moment to destroy him at all… And he was badly mistaken. Here are some of the answers from the press conference in 2007 .in Montreal:
- N: You’ve played against him before. How much progress do you think he has made?
- F: I played him four times before and never lost.
- N: If we look at the bigger picture and your goals for this year, how significant is this defeat? Is it even significant?
- F: This is trivial haha.
- N: How do you rate his style of play, maybe a little more similar to yours than Rafin?
- F: No, not too much. I mean, he plays like most other players. You know, he’s steady from the baseline and has a good serve. But, like him, there is nothing special about his game. He always plays predictably, which is a good thing. We had some good points, he moved well, he ‘moved’ the ball well. I actually enjoy playing against him.
From these answers, it is clear how much Novak Djokovic “got on Roger Federer’s nerves” just because he suddenly managed to get involved in the rivalry between him and Rafael Nadal, which “Nike” managed to exploit as much as possible both financially and for popularity. tennis, so he didn’t recognize that the Serb really admired him. Even when he attracted attention by harmlessly imitating other tennis players, he did not “register that kid” from Serbia at all. The problem was that he kept getting better…
When he defeated Novak in the US Open final just a few weeks later, he said that Canada was “just a bad day”, while he even attacked the Serbian tennis player on several occasions for his “crazy behavior”. He pointed out that he did not behave himself when he was only 20 years old, and that it was not appropriate, but he was running out of material for “sharing lessons” already in January 2008. Then Novak Djokovic defeated him in the semifinals of the Australian Open (3:0) and after that match Federer ordered “don’t care about the final and won’t watch it”, adding that he sees no improvement in his game (!?). Which is crazy!
Source: Profimedia/Peter PARKS / AFP
- N: Can you measure how far he has progressed? Has he progressed that much?
- F: No, he’s been playing pretty much the same for the last nine months or a year. He has a good start to the year. Here, everything comes down to a couple of points. That’s what I told you before, that’s what happened today.
- N: You had a break advantage in the first set. That was the moment when it should… (Federer interrupts the journalist, ed. author)
- F: We all know that everything would have been different if I had served better today. Sure, he could still beat me, but the circumstances would be completely different. He wouldn’t play so casually in the second set. He doesn’t usually play like that. It was an unfortunate circumstance for me. You know, paying twice for the same thing, you not only lose the first set, but the second set as well. I missed too many chances in the third set as well. But like I said, he had good shots, good serves and saved himself.
If Novak Djokovic talked about his game like this today, we have no doubt that the media would throw “sticks and stones” at him for disrespecting young tennis players, but it’s actually quite the opposite. With great respect, Nola looks at the new generations, puts them on the same level with the great rivalries he had before they appeared, and this may in some way contribute to the fact that they do not have the “sharpness” that Federer caused in him.
Probably, the day is not far when one of the “sponsors and friends” will advise Alcaraz, Siner and Rune to distance themselves from Djokovic and “freely attack” him, and that they will have the wholehearted help of the media in this. How else to call Federer’s address from 2009, when he put a “target on Nolet’s forehead” and allowed them to drag him out for years…
“Djokovic is not a tennis player who hasn’t given up before, so it’s a disappointment. I’ve only done it once in my career, Andy was totally done to win that match. I feel like saying that if you’re not fit enough to play, don’t play. If Novak was leading 2-0 in the sets, I don’t believe he would have surrendered when he was down 4-0 in the last set (he was down 2-1, prim, out). Thanks to Andy, he eventually gave up, he made him he’s playing to his fullest potential. Hats off to him”said Roger Federer after Novak Djokovic’s decision to hand over the quarterfinals of the Australian Open to Andy Roddick due to cramps and muscle problems.
I guess the kids learned their lesson, because from what we see now – maybe it’s better to be Novak Djokovic’s friends than to make him discover a new beast in himself. In that case, he will play for another ten years.
Novak Djokovic Carlos Alcaraz
Source: IMAGO / imago sportfotodienst / Profimedia