“He was better,” Patrick Mouratoglou compares Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic at 36

Not many stars would ever have a calendar year as successful as a 36-year-old Novak Djokovic.


“He was better,” Patrick Mouratoglou compares Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic at 36

Novak Djokovic, Patrick Mouratoglou, and Roger Federer (via Open Source)

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are two of the biggest names in the history of tennis along with the Spaniard Rafael Nadal. Over the years, these two have faced each other multiple times to produce some beautiful matches. However, there has always been a comparison made between the two greats. Recently coach Patrick Mouratoglou dived deep into their rivalry and answered the question.

At the age of 36, Novak Djokovic is in the form of his life and cruising through many tournaments but many believe that Federer was equally good at that age.

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The French coach broke down this question and revealed that Novak was physically better than Federer which enabled him to stay on top of his game and win back-to-back Slams. Here is what he had to say:

Novak, I feel the difference is Novak is he’s physically as good today as he was when he was 26 and that’s a huge difference because when you are at that level physically, you can be consistent all year long and beat all the best players in the world on a consistent basis. That's a big difference.
Patrick Mouratoglou on Instagram

Where Novak won 3 Grand Slams and the ATP Finals at the age of 36, Federer only managed to win one or two Slams at that age. This striking difference separates both the greats of the game but that doesn’t eliminate what they have achieved in their careers making them idols of many.

Roger Federer’s backhand changed him into a better player believes Patrick Mouratoglou

Roger Federer, the Swiss icon is known widely for his unique one-handed backhand. However, only a few know about the evolution of this backhand, and towards the end of his career, Federer twerked around with his backhand which enabled him to win a few more Slams. French coach Patrick Mouratoglou believes the same and believes that this change made the Swiss a better player.

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Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic
Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic (Via Sky Sports)

Federer had played his backhand a little late to generate that extra topspin that had won him many matches earlier but since he adjusted the grip and generated less topspin, the 42-year-old had a really strong backhand that was the perfect counter for Nadal’s ground forehand: 

I think that Roger was the better player in a way in 2018 than he was 10 years before. Actually for one main reason, his backhand. He took a major decision and started to take the ball much earlier on the backhand side and to return flat rather than return slice systematically.
Patrick Mouratoglou in conversation with Tennis Majors

This backhand is famously known as “neo-backhand” which allowed the Swiss to create angles with his backhand and return with a more powerful shot. 

Both Novak and Federer have done a lot in their careers. While the Swiss has retired from the sport, his rival Djokovic is going strong at the age of 36. He can compete with the younger generation and dominate his league. After ending 2023 as world number 1, Djokovic is set to do even better next season and possibly break more records throughout the year.

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