Roger Federer, a legend in his own right, extended hearty congratulations to his long-standing adversary, Novak Djokovic, for clinching his record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam title at the French Open in Paris. The Swiss titan's accolades came four days after the historic victory, during an interaction with journalists in London.
A Salute from a Great Rival
In contrast to the immediate outpouring of congratulations from many in the tennis community, including the indomitable Spaniard Rafael Nadal, Federer's commendation arrived a few days later.
Despite this apparent delay, his words were filled with warmth and respect, highlighting the intense camaraderie and mutual respect shared between these giants of the sport. "I thought what Novak did is incredible," said Federer, speaking at an event in Greenwich.
"Honestly, it's great for tennis, great for sports when tennis writes its own history and keeps on adding to it like we've seen with Serena Williams as well, Rafa then myself and now with Novak. It's a great time in tennis to be a fan as well, but also a player."
Retired Roger Federer returns to London this summer in SE2 rather than SW19.
Opening a refurbished public court in Greenwich through his Neon Legacy initiative. Hails Novak Djokovic’s grand slam men’s singles record of 23 as “incredible”. pic.twitter.com/aFKmkWmIIq — Stuart Fraser (@stu_fraser) June 15, 2023
The Ever-Evolving Race of Grand Slam Victories
The fierce yet friendly competition between Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic, often referred to as the 'Big Three' of tennis, has continuously pushed the boundaries of Grand Slam victories.
"I remember when I came on tour, and Pete Sampras reached 14 [slams] we thought 'Okay, that one is gonna stay forever,'" Federer reminisced. "Then I went to 15, I eventually ended up at 17, and then we pushed each other to 20 – I don't remember who was first – and then Rafa pushed it to 22." Federer further underscored the exceptional quality of Djokovic's achievement, given the Serbian star's age.
The Swiss champion added, "Then now Novak pushed it to 23 and he looks like he's gonna keep on doing that for a long time still to come, which is great. And I wish him all the best." His admiration for Djokovic's performance was profound. "I think also the way he's doing it still – he isn't the youngest anymore, we forget.
He looks young and he does it in a young way, but it's not easy, and I thought it was an amazing victory. So I couldn't have been more happy."
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