The Roland Garros this year has given us some of the most memorable tennis moments so far this season, not leas the epic four-hour battle that Novak Djokovic miraculously managed to battle his way through to secure his semi-final rematch with fellow top-seeder Roger Federer. For the members of the associated press who were gathered to quiz Djokovic post slug-fest however, the action at Paris couldn’t be further from their minds!
Expecting to be drilled about his incredible 6-1, 5-7, 5-7, 7-6, 6-1 triumph over the French fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, or even his re-match with the man who knocked him out at the same stage last year, the first question that came the World number 1’s way when he stepped off-court was instead about an exhibition match in Brazil. Yes, the player who may just be the first one in 43 years to hold all four Grand Slam trophies at once was asked if he was “excited” about going to Brazil to play in an exhibition match later this year.
Politely answering that it would be his first time in Brazil he was indeed excited about it, his mind and the rest of the gathered journalists’ minds were still focused on the tournament underway in Paris. For it was this time last year that Djokovic was stunningly forced out of the tournament after a spectacular match with the Swiss tennis ace, who also brought an end to his 43-match winning streak as well as his chances at the trophy.
After more sensible questioning at the post match news conference Djokovic refused to be drawn into a lengthy discussion about Federer claiming that “We all know his quality and can always expect him to perform his best at this stage of the tournament”. He did, however, admit that he will need to be as aggressive and focused as possible when he faces the World number 3 who many consider to be the greatest tennis player of all time “Becuase that’s something you can always expect from Roger: he can have that control over the opponent from the start.”
Although Federer hasn’t been playing his best tennis of late, and even with Djokovic’s victory over him at the US Open 8 months ago, he is still one of the most formidable opponents that the Serb will face this year. Having just broken a world record for the total number of Grand Slam matches won in the open era, Federer is riding a bit of an achievement high at the moment and it may be enough to give him the edge in what could arguably be considered the most anticipated re-match of the season. With Djokovic commited to being “very focused and agressive from the first moment”, it’s a match that will be difficult to call.