Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic on their ‘thrilling’ rivalry: ‘We get the best out of one another’

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Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic match

They have played some “thrilling matches” over the years and it is unsurprising that Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic believe their rivalry transcend the sport.

The duo have squared off 50 times in competitive matches with Djokovic leading the head-to-head 27-23. It is the second-most prolific rivalry in men’s tennis in the Open Era as Rafael Nadal and Djokovic lead the way with 56 encounters.

Over the years the Federer-Djokovic match-ups have delivered some classics and reigning world No 1 Djokovic says their rivalry “goes beyond the sport”.

“I’ve played so many thrilling matches with him over the years,” the 17-time Grand Slam winner said during an episode of ATP Uncovered.

“Every time I step on court against him it’s thrilling, it’s very exciting because it kind of exceeds that match. It goes beyond the sport.”

Their styles are quite contrasting and 20-time Grand Slam winner Federer believes it makes for exciting matches.

“Novak, obviously he can play on all the surfaces extremely well,” the Swiss said. “He always brings a certain level of play, which is extremely high, so to beat him you have to be at your best.

“He’s a great mover, and I have great coordination, so we match up well against each other.”

Of the 50 matches, 20 have been finals with the most recent final clash at Wimbledon in 2019 when Djokovic won a five-hour, five-set marathon.

And while some pundits lament the fact that modern-day greats Federer, Djokovic as well as Rafael Nadal compete in the same era, the Swiss feels it great for the sport and often brings out the best in players.

“I think actually rivalries are super important in sports, I think it also makes the game more popular,” Federer said. “I think you always need somebody who you can have a good rivalry with. With me… and with Djokovic, thank god I had them… I think we get the best out of one another.”

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