Roger Federer has a positive reputation among his contemporaries. At the 2006 Davis Cup, however, a scuffle broke out between the Swiss Maestro and his rival Novak Djokovic. Switzerland faced Serbia and Montenegro in a Davis Cup tie in 2006. Federer was pumped, and Djokovic wasn’t exactly a household name on the tour at the moment. Novak Djokovic faced Stan Wawrinka in the second tie of the Davis Cup tournament. Djokovic came back from a 2-1 deficit to win a tense five-set match. However, Roger Federer was dissatisfied with what he witnessed during the encounter.
“I think he’s a joke”- Roger Federer
Djokovic, who was 19 years old at that time, called his coach several times. The Serb had hamstring problems but Federer thought he was faking them to throw Wawrinka off. “I don’t trust his injuries. I’m serious. I think he’s a joke, you know, when it comes down to his injuries,” Federer stated, according to Tennis Planet. Despite this, Switzerland’s chances were not harmed by Wawrinka’s loss, as they overcame Serbia and Montenegro 4-1. Later that night, Federer defeated Djokovic in straight sets.
Federer then explained his apparent tense relationship with Djokovic in 2012. He denied that he and Djokovic had a falling out and that they had forgotten about the ‘joke’ comment they made a while back. “I was just upset at him calling the trainer out for no obvious reason against my buddy, Stan, in a five-setter. That was it. We had a quick chat about it in Madrid after that, and things have been cool for a long time between me and him,” the ‘Swiss Maestro’ said.
In addition, Roger Federer was scheduled to face Djokovic in the Wimbledon semifinals in 2012. Prior to that, he praised the player Djokovic was becoming at the time. “What he has achieved over the years and what he’s still showing on the court is phenomenal. He’s a role model, even for me, and one of the toughest opponents I’ve had in my career. Looking at his career and what he’s still doing just inspires you.” Federer heaped praise on the Serb.
Their rivalry is one of the longest-running in history. Djokovic leads the rivalry, which has spanned more than 50 encounters, by a hair. Nevertheless, Federer and Djokovic may have been feuding when they were younger in their careers, but with maturity, the conflict appears to be over, with both recognising the other’s contributions to the sport.