Djokovic names two reasons he respects Federer ahead of Laver Cup

Roger Federer announces retirement from professional tennis

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Novak Djokovic has explained why he ‘respects’ rival Roger Federer despite sharing several fierce battles over the years. The Serb has described the retiring tennis star as a ‘legend’ of the sport who also shares ‘family values’.

Federer is set to retire from tennis following a glittering 24-year career. His final match will be a doubles event, expected to be alongside Rafael Nadal, at the O2 in London on Friday. 

The Swiss’ tennis colleagues have been paying tribute to the 20-times Grand Slam champion. And Djokovic has given two reasons why he ‘respects’ his long-term rival. 

Federer is a ‘legendary player’ but also holds strong ‘family values’, according to Djokovic. He was speaking ahead of the Laver Cup, in which he will feature for Team Europe alongside Federer, Nadal and Andy Murray. 

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“I had an opportunity a few years ago to play with Roger in Team Europe and we had lots of fun. It was nice to spend time together without direct competition and I enjoyed it,” the World No 7 explained to Hello! Magazine.  

“I respect Roger as a legendary tennis player but also for his family values. Roger kindly supported the work of my charity foundation back then and sat with me as we had a mini event called ‘Breakfast with champions’.

“It’s really exciting to be joining Team Europe again. It is one of the few moments where you can play in a team environment with guys that you’re normally competing against and to be joining Rafa, Roger and Andy – three of my biggest all-time rivals – it’s going to be a truly unique moment in our sport.”

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Federer will call time on the sport after his doubles match at the Laver Cup. It is widely expected that he will team up with Nadal, his long-term rival. 

The 41-year-old had to seek permission to play in just one match, with Laver Cup competition rules insisting that stars play a singles and a doubles match across the weekend. Federer was asked if he would like to play alongside Nadal. “Of course. No doubt,” he responded.  

He added: “I think it could be quite a unique situation that if it were to happen that for as long as we battled together, having always respect for one another, families, coaching teams, we always got along really well and for us as well to go through the career that we’ve both had to come out the other side and have a nice relationship.”

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