Novak Djokovic wants to follow in the footsteps of Roger Federer by having all his tennis rivals present when he retires.
Federer called time on a glittering career at this year’s Laver Cup in London, an event which featured Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray – meaning the ‘Big Four’ who have dominated men’s tennis for the best part of the last two decades were all in attendance.
The Swiss superstar with 20 Grand Slams to his name said a teary goodbye after losing a doubles match against Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock with long-time on-court rival Nadal.
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The pair sat side-by-side while overcome with emotion as the O2 Arena said goodbye to arguably the sport’s greatest men’s player.
"It was just a very touching, very emotional moment," Djokovic told reporters on Tuesday in Tel Aviv, where he will play an ATP 250 event this week.
"Seeing his kids and his family, it got me emotional as well. I also must say I was thinking about how it would look for me when I say goodbye to tennis.
"There is definitely one thing that I will wish to have - other than, of course, my family and the close people in my life - I would love to have my biggest rivals and competitors there. Because it added something more special, added more importance to that moment."
Federer, Nadal in tears
Image credit: Getty Images
Federer, 41, was the first to reach the milestone of 20 majors but has since been surpassed by Nadal and Djokovic on 22 and 21 respectively.
The latter two will continue to battle it out for tennis supremacy in Federer’s absence, and Djokovic is keen for the rivalry to continue.
"We played the most matches against each other of any other rivalry in the history of tennis," said Wimbledon 2022 winner Djokovic of Nadal.
"The rivalry is very special and keeps going. Hopefully, we'll get a chance to play against each other more times. Because it's exciting for us and also for tennis fans and sport fans around the world."
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Nadal won the 2022 Australian Open while Djokovic missed the tournament due to not being vaccinated against Covid-19.
The two went head-to-head in the quarter finals of the French Open where the Spaniard came out on top before going on to win his second Slam of the year.
Djokovic triumphed in London at Wimbledon, but he again missed the US Open due to his vaccination status, while Nadal was eliminated by Frances Tiafoe.
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