Roger Federer has been praising rival Novak Djokovic ahead of his much anticipated return to tennis.
Federer was forced to take a year out of the game due to a recurring knee injury which required two surgeries and is making a long-awaited return in Doha this week.
Djokovic, who on Monday will surpass Federer’s record for the most weeks as world number one, won his 18th Grand Slam at the 2021 Australian Open and is now only two behind Federer and Nadal with 20 each.
Federer and Djokovic have a long-standing rivalry having played each other 50 times over the last 15 years with five of those being in a major final.
The Swiss ace currently trails their head-to-head 23-27 and it is clear he has a lot of respect for his Serbian colleague.
“I enjoy playing against him,” Federer said of Djokovic. “I really feel like we get the best out of each other.
“We have different playing styles, (so) it almost depends on the day, which court we’re playing on and how the matches have been leading up to that match.
“Against the best players you know you have to bring your best game. Otherwise, it will not be enough. Especially against somebody like Novak who can go into a mode where he is not going to miss (a ball).”
“He can defend very well and be aggressive, he has a very good balance. That’s why he is one of the greatest players ever,” Federer continued in a question and answer session with Qatar Tennis.
“It has been a pleasure to play against him and he’s one of the players who have made me a better player. It’s great to have him in the game.”
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