Exclusive: Novak Djokovic hails Roger Federer ahead of Laver Cup farewell - 'His greatness will live forever'
They may be two great rivals in men's tennis, but Novak Djokovic still wanted to pay tribute to Roger Federer and insist that "his greatness will live forever" ahead of his farewell doubles match with Rafael Nadal at the Laver Cup. Djokovic and Federer have enjoyed many legendary battles at the very top of the sport and the Serb recognised that it was a "sad moment" for tennis and sport.
Exclusive: 'It is a sad moment' - Djokovic on an era ending with Federer retiring
Asked if it felt like the end of an era with Federer retiring, Djokovic told Eurosport: "It does feel like it. It is a sad moment for tennis and sport, in general, to have to say goodbye to one of the greats.
"The way he went about his business, on and off the court, has secured him a huge deal of popularity around the world. He has deserved that because he has been so perfect, on and off the court - with his results and career, but also with his personality.
"He has gathered a lot of sympathy with sports fans around the world and his greatness will live forever."
On the unique and special atmosphere generated between the rivals at the Laver Cup, Djokovic highlighted what made all the difference for the big names of men's tennis.
Exclusive: 'The best locker room moments, the funniest!' - Djokovic on banter at Laver Cup
"We had the best locker room moments, the funniest ones, at the Laver Cup. Just the conversations that we normally don't have on the tour because we are rivals. We don't normally hang out together as we all have our teams and our families that we stick to, which is normal and logical," he said.
'Nervous' Federer hoping to team up with Nadal for doubles farewell
"But the Laver Cup is a unique competition where you get to be team-mates and you get to support each other and experience each other in a different way.
"So it was actually a very funny dinner last night with Team Europe and we had a lot of laughs. I'm just trying to enjoy every moment at the Laver Cup and every moment is really precious for me."
Exclusive: 'I won't put myself in!' - Djokovic builds perfect tennis player from the Big Four
Asked to design his perfect player from the original 'Big Four' and their unique attributes, Djokovic found a way of including Federer, Nadal and Andy Murray.
"Okay, so Rafa's strength and physical and mental strength. I would take Roger's serve and forehand, and I would take Andy Murray's defence and return. I won't put myself in the mix, but I think that kind of player is already pretty good!"
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