The 31st meeting between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic takes place this afternoon in the group stages of the Barclays ATP Word Tour Finals. The match comes three days removed from their fantastic semi-final clash in Paris, which ended with a Djokovic win following three competitive sets. Federer’s performance in the match, even in defeat, far exceeded what most expected of the former no. 1 following his turbulent season in 2013.
Djokovic admits that this is typical of Federer’s approach. He is capable of beating anyone on court if he simply feels confident during the match.
“He has an incredible quality in his game even though he is moving slower than he used to.” Djokovic said, “He’s striking the ball really well and if he feels well that day he can beat anybody.”
The 17-time Grand Slam champion has only won one title this season (Halle) and only reached the finals of two other events in 2013 (Rome, Basel). He failed to capture a single Grand Slam title and even exited two of the Slams before the quarter-final stage, which has not occurred in almost a decade. After regaining the No.1 ranking in July of 2012, he plummeted to no. 7 throughout this season as he failed to defend any points on the tour. Djokovic believes that the biggest problem Federer has had has been his movement on the court.
“He might answer that better”, later adding “in my opinion, he hasn’t been moving as well this year as he did before, and I guess that’s one of the reasons why he hasn’t had much success this year.”
Federer leads the head-to-head 16-14 but Djokovic has been able to bridge the gap recently as he holds wins in four of their last six meetings, including the finals here in London last year. While he has been able to control the majority of their recent encounters, the Serbian star is adamant that Federer is never to be underestimated.
“He’s Roger Federer and he’s achieved so much in his career. He’s never to be underestimated as long as he plays tennis,”