17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer made a successful return to Davis Cup action when he defeated Ilija Bozoljac, and even after fighting back from a 5-2 deficit in the second set to give the Swiss team the first of two points on the opening day of their first round tie against Serbia.
While Federer would have liked to see the six-time Grand Slam champion compete in the World Group tie this week, he understands that the Serb’s priority this year is to regain his top ranking. Federer himself is playing just his second World Group tie since 2004 and only joined the Swiss team a couple of days before the official draw last Thursday.
“We were all hoping Djokovic would be here, but we understand that he has good reasons not to be and we all know how much he has done for his country,” said Federer. “It would have been more exciting and more difficult for us but what we have to do now is take this opportunity to try to win the tie.”
While many believe that the relationship between the two rivals is sour off-court, Federer claims that that is simply not the case and that they are nothing but friendly away from professional competition.
“The press hypes a lot of things up because they want top players to hate each other, but my relationship with Novak is good,” Federer said. “We’ve had a tough and fierce rivalry at times but away from the court we are friendly and do a lot of things together, like charity.”