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‘This is concerning’ – Gilbert, Ivanisevic fear Federer’s best days are over

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Federer announced last week that he had undergone a second surgical procedure on his knee which will keep him out of action until 2021.

The development concerns Gilbert, who feels the 38-year-old faces a real uphill task to return to his best.

“I’m not going to write him off, but this is concerning,” he told ESPN.

Roger Federer

“Thirty-nine ain’t what it used to be, that’s for sure. But if tennis gets going again, he’ll probably be unseeded for the Australian Open in ’21 because he played so little early this year. And that could mean trouble.”

He continued: “We are in uncharted territory, the way guys are training and taking care of themselves.

“Sure, Ken Rosewall and Jimmy Connors [both played in majors after turning 39], but today’s game is more physical, and the players are tougher.

“When you take that much time, even at 25-26, it can take six months to get your mojo back.

Wimbledon 2001 winner Goran Ivanisevic weighed in on the debate and believes Novak Djokovic will overtake Federer in the Grand Slam haul.

“One day when everyone finishes their careers,” he told Nova TV. “Then we will be able to give an account.

“It’s difficult for me to give an answer because in my opinion Novak is the best and he is the only one who can win a calendar Grand Slam.

“If he’s healthy, I think he’ll break that record [of 20 Grand Slams]. I think Nadal will break Federer’s record as well.

World number 12 Borna Coric was asked by UBI Tennis last week: “Will Federer 2021 be a repeat of Federer 2017?”

He replied: “We have been saying he’s too old for 10 years. So until he says he stops playing tennis I will never count him out.”

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“Good Person”: Rafael Nadal Opens up on His Relationship With Rival Novak Djokovic

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Many tennis fans wonder how Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic get along outside the tennis court. Their conduct towards each other on the tennis court is always respectful, and that translates outside the court as well, as admitted by Nadal. The Spaniard spoke about his relationship with Djokovic, whom he called a good person.

“I have a good relationship with him. Is a good person. We must relativize things between us,”  Nadal said, in a recent interview, throwing light on his camaraderie with Djokovic.

There was also speculation among fans as to what Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic spoke about at the end of their French Open 2020 final. Interestingly, it was one of the most one-sided battles they have played over the years. However, Nadal said that Djokovic, with whom he shares a strong relationship, simply congratulated him and nothing more.

Rafael Nadal understands why Novak Djokovic did not say much

I could not talk to him. He congratulated me on the track and that’s it. It is normal,” Nadal said. He said he understands that Djokovic was not in a mood to talk, as no one usually is, after a heartbreaking loss.

When you lose a game like that, you don’t really want to talk. I understand it,” Nadal added.

Nadal avenged his one-sided loss in the 2019 Australian Open final against Djokovic. The two men also shared a respectful exchange during the trophy ceremony post their match. Nadal lauded Djokovic and said he hopes to keep facing him, further adding to their already great rivalry.

What you’re doing in tennis is very very special. Hope to keep facing you [Djokovic] on the court for the next couple of years,” Nadal said to Djokovic.

The mutual respect between the two stars

Despite not having a conversation with Nadal after the match, Djokovic spoke highly of Nadal in his post-match presser. Djokovic highlighted why Nadal is a great champion. He also admitted that it was one of those days where Nadal was simply the better player and there was not much he could do to tame the ‘King of Clay’.

I was also thinking that these conditions are more favorable to me. I was feeling great throughout the tournament playing. […] But, yeah, I mean, Rafa has proven everybody wrong. That’s why he’s a great champion. He just played a fantastic match today,” he said.

The two champions are expected to resume their rivalry at the ATP Finals next month. While they will not face each other in the Round Robin stage, the anticipation of another Nadal-Djokovic final is already running high.

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