Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are both among the best tennis players ever. Much has been said about the relationship between these rivals. But, are Federer and Djokovic friends, or do they dislike each other?
There is no friendship between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. In the past, there were frequent irritations between the two players. Nowadays, these rivals treat each other as good colleagues and have mutual respect. However, there is no question that Federer and Djokovic dislike each other.
There is a lot to be said about the relationship between these two tennis legends. While the two had some issues with each other in the past, their relationship is better these days.
Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are two of the greatest tennis players of all time. The pair have played each other fifty times since 2006, with Djokovic leading the head to head 27 to 23.
They are great rivals and have produced some of the finest tennis matches in history, namely their epic Wimbledon final in 2014.
With such arch-rivals, their relationship off the court can be excellent, like Federer and Nadal’s relationship, or terrible, like McEnroe and Lendl.
Federer and Djokovic are somewhere between that. They are not the greatest of friends and never will be, but there is genuine friendliness between them, especially in recent years.
They both certainly have tremendous respect for one another, in a way that only tennis greats can understand.
They have also both donated and contributed to each other’s charities, showing that they are publicly friendly at the very least.
Federer is perhaps the most loved player in the history of tennis.
He captured the heart of tennis fans worldwide and commanded the respect of any tennis player. His playstyle is elegant yet powerful and very effective.
However, it is his laid-back, calm, and respectful demeanor both on and off the court that people love.
Federer is known for his fair play and sportsmanship, and Djokovic respects this massively.
Djokovic is quite significantly less liked in the tennis world (as we will see later). But it is clear that the Serb has matured in recent years. His relationship with Roger Federer has definitely improved, thanks to this.
At the Laver Cup in 2018, the pair competed together in doubles. Allegedly, communication between the two was sometimes tricky, although they got along.
They did lose their match; however, both spoke highly of their partner afterward.
Djokovic said that it was an experience he would carry with him forever, a clear display of the respect and affection he has for Roger.
It is important to remember that the two are also very different people.
Djokovic is extremely stubborn, which is fantastic for his mental state on a tennis court, as he is convinced that he can win any match against anyone.
However, this can lead to some problems off the court, as has been shown very recently with his anti-vax stance and the Australian Open saga.
With Rafael Nadal winning his 21st Grand Slam, the Spaniard has now won one more than both Djokovic and Federer.
It is unlikely that Federer will win any more Grand Slams (but not impossible). Still, Djokovic would be considered a potential winner for any Grand Slam except for Roland Garros.
However, due to not being vaccinated, he is being refused entry to France and England at the very least. This gives Nadal a massive advantage for ending as the greatest tennis player, as his main rival can’t even compete.
The fact that Djokovic would potentially concede this rather than get vaccinated is the clearest evidence of Djokovic’s ability to swim against the tide.
He is very headstrong, which can often be tricky to get along with.
On the other hand, Roger Federer is famously relaxed and laid back. Apparently, he likes empathetic people, something that Djokovic does not seem to be.
So, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are very different people and not the best of friends. However, they have a cordial relationship that has gotten better over the years and troves of respect for each other as tennis players.
We’ve seen that the relationship between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic is relatively friendly. However, that has not always been the case.
Djokovic burst onto the scene when the Federer and Nadal rivalry dominated the world of tennis.
Federer and Nadal were friendly off the court despite their rivalry, so having a third wheel in the shape of a young, energetic, annoying, and sometimes disrespectful Novak Djokovic would not have been welcomed by Federer.
Djokovic started his professional career in 2003.
In the first few years of his career, he was not as mentally solid as he is now, which led to him giving up matches sometimes.
He was also dramatic on the court, prone to ripping off his shirt and making a big performance on the court, and impersonating his tennis colleagues off the court, which got lots of media attention.
All of this is likely to have gotten under Federer’s skin a little bit.
However, it is Djokovic’s family’s antics that irritated Federer.
Djokovic’s camp would often be very loud on the side of the court, gesticulating wildly and celebrating excessively throughout the match.
This would get on the nerves of any tennis player, Federer included. At Monte Carlo in 2008, Federer told Djokovic’s box to “be quiet” and was clearly irritated with them.
However, Djokovic matured, stopped his antics, and focused on becoming the best tennis player he could.
Federer respects this, and their relationship has become a lot better accordingly.
Boris Becker, Djokovic’s coach for a time, tried to stoke the fire of the rivalry, saying that it was an “open secret” that Federer disliked Djokovic.
Federer’s response was very honest, however, as he stated the following:
“It is well known that I initially had problems with Novak’s manner on the court, but now he behaves wonderfully and fairly. I have no problem with Novak.”
This sums up their relationship perfectly.
There was also some tension when it came to the politics of tennis. Djokovic launched the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) in 2019 with Vasek Pospisil.
Federer, Nadal, and Murray were all a part of the ATP player council. Djokovic’s move has widely been reported as annoying several players, including Roger Federer.
So, as we have seen, Federer and Djokovic have had their problems over the years, but generally speaking, they get on well today.
They have both contributed to each other’s charities and have been amiable in person.
As two of the best tennis players of all time, they of course also have lots of respect for each other.
Their rivalry will go down in tennis history as one of the most impressive and hotly contested of all time.