Roger Federer once shared his thoughts on Novak Djokovic’s game after suffering his first-ever loss to the Serb.
Federer squared off against Djokovic for the fifth time in his career in the 2007 Rogers Masters final (now the Canadian Open). Despite losing all four of their previous encounters, the Serb claimed a hard-fought 7-6(2), 2-6, 7-6(2) win in the final, ending the Swiss’ bid for a successful title defense.
Following his defeat, Roger Federer acknowledged Novak Djokovic’s consistent improvement, stating that he had established himself as a serious contender over the past year.
“No, he played well. Like I said, he’s an up-and-coming youngster who is improving almost by the day because they’re so young, you know, they learn a lot with all the matches they play, with the travelling,” he said in his post-match press conference.
So for this reason he definitely played great tournament. He’s been able to back it up now since basically a year now,” he added.
The Swiss also suggested that the Rogers Masters could mark a turning point for Djokovic, leading to his breakthrough at Grand Slam events. While Federer conceded that the Serb delivered a strong performance in the final, he also emphasized that he was never caught off guard by his skills.
“If he keeps this up, you know, he’s going to create some chances also at the Grand Slams because he’s been able to come to two semifinals already in his career,” he said.
“This obviously might be a breakthrough tournament for him. I was impressed the way I played, but nothing to the point where he surprised me. I knew how he was playing, so that was a good thing,” he added.
Federer then proceeded to analyze Djokovic’s game, remarking that it was reminiscent of many other players on tour. Citing the Serb’s admission about his game lacking anything “outrageous,” he characterized it as predictable. Nevertheless, the Swiss shared that he enjoyed playing against the Serb, praising his playing style, proficient rallying skills, and strategic ball movement.
“No, not really. I mean, he plays like many other players on tour. You know, I mean, he’s steady off the baseline, he’s got a pretty good serve. But, yeah, I mean, like himself, he says nothing outrageous in his game. Always pretty predictable, which is a good thing,” he said.
“Yeah, you get some good rallies against him because he scrambles well, moves to the ball well, moves the ball around very nicely. Yeah, I enjoy playing against him,” he added.
Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic faced each other four times in 2007