Novak Djokovic has paid heartfelt tribute to the retiring Roger Federer in an Instagram post on Friday. Federer, a 20-time Grand Slam winner and arguable the greatest male singles players, announced on Thursday that the Laver Cup next week will be the final tournament of his storied career.
Tributes have been pouring in from all around with his on-court rivals joining athletes from other disciplines with emotional tributes on social media.
Djokovic and Federer clashed against each other 50 times with the Serb holding a 27-23 winning record.
At the Majors, the duo came face to face 17 times including five finals. Djokovic also leads here with a head-to-head record of 11-6 against the Swiss maestro.
Djokovic hailed Federer as someone who defined excellence for others and led by example through his integrity and poise.
“Roger it’s hard to see this day and put into words all that we’ve shared in this sport together,” wrote Djokovic. “Over a decade of incredible moments and battles to think back on. Your career has set the tone for what it means to achieve excellence and lead with integrity and poise. It’s an honour to know you on and off court, and for many more years to come.”
He also wished Federer well for his future endeavours.
“I know that this new chapter will hold amazing things for you, Mirka, the kids, all your loved ones, and Roger fans still have a lot to look forward to. From our family to yours, we wish you much joy, health, and prosperity in the future. Looking forward to celebrating your achievements and seeing you in London,” he added.
RECORDS HELD BY FEDERER
- Won 20 Grand Slam titles, only behind Rafa Nadal (22) and Novak Djokovic (21).
- Claimed 103 titles, second only to Jimmy Connors’ Open Era record of 109.
- Won 1,251 singles matches, second in the Open Era behind Connors’ 1,274.
- Most consecutive weeks at world number one (237).
- Oldest player to hold the number one ranking (36 years, 320 days).
- Most Wimbledon titles for a men’s singles player (8).
- Oldest men’s player to win Wimbledon (35 years, 342 days in 2017).
- Never retired from a match in his career, having played 1,526 singles (W 1,251) and 223 doubles (W 131) matches.
- Only player to win two Grand Slams five consecutive times – Wimbledon from 2003-07 and the U.S. Open from 2004-08.
- Only player to reach 10 straight men’s Grand Slam finals (2005-06). He played 31 finals in all, one behind Novak Djokovic’s record tally of 32.
- Only player to reach all four Grand Slam finals in the same calendar year three times (2006, 2007 and 2009).
- Holds the Open Era record for the longest winning streak on grass (65) and the all-time record on hard courts (56).
- Only men’s player to win at least 10 titles on clay, grass and hard courts.
- Won 24 straight finals on the ATP Tour (2003-05).
- Holds the record for most titles (6) at the year-end Tour Finals, which only features players ranked in the top eight.