‘Roger Federer is tennis, but Novak Djokovic is better,’ says Italian legend

Italian Davis Cup legend Paolo Bertolucci believes that although Roger Federer is the most iconic player of all time, Novak Djokovic is the best.

Djokovic and Federer along with Rafael Nadal have been locked in a three-way rivalry for tennis history for more than a decade, and all have strong cases to be considered the greatest of all time.

The argument in favour of Federer is rooted in not only what he has done, but how he has done it and the popularity he has inspired.

And, while Bertolucci is happy to acknowledge that, he does not believe that makes him the best.

“Federer is tennis, we are all [Federer fans],” Bertolucci told Corriere del Veneto.

“But the Djokovic of 2013 and of the last year and a half is the strongest player ever.

“He and Nadal are able to keep mental and competitive rhythms that I would not have managed even five minutes. But how do they do it? I envy and admire them.”

Bertolucci, though, believes that what sets all of the Big Three apart from the rest is not just what they do on a tennis court, but how they conduct themselves off it too.

“They know the past of their sport and respect it,” he said

“You can meet them at dinner, if you cross them they come to greet you, they know who you are and what you did and have a chat with you.

“It is a sign of education, but also of historical culture and modesty.”

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