Roger Federer has revealed Novak Djokovic is his favourite to win the 2023 US Open men’s singles title, describing his former rival as “a safe bet.”
Djokovic is seeking to win a record-extending 24th men’s Grand Slam singles crown in New York, where he is the No 2 seed behind defending champion Carlos Alcaraz. The 36-year-old could face the Spaniard in a blockbuster final at Flushing Meadows on Sunday.
The Serbian won the Australian Open and French Open titles this year, before losing an epic five-set Wimbledon final to Alcaraz in July. Djokovic then edged the 20-year-old in an equally-thrilling title match at last month’s Cincinnati Masters.
Federer and Djokovic shared one of the greatest rivalries in the history of tennis, with the duo facing off a remarkable 50 times. Djokovic holds a 27-23 edge in the pair’s series, which was contested over a 14-year period from 2006 to 2020.
“I would bet on Novak Djokovic. That’s a safe bet,” said 20-time major winner Federer speaking as a brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz, in quotes reported by Sports Illustrated Deutschland.
Federer called an end to his glittering 24-year career following the Laver Cup last year, with Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray all in attendance as teammates.
On an episode of ATP Uncovered in 2020, Djokovic and Federer both discussed their incredible rivalry. The Serbian described the feeling he got each time he faced the Swiss.
“I’ve played so many thrilling matches with him over the years. Every time I step on court against him it’s thrilling, it’s very exciting because it kind of exceeds that match. It goes beyond the sport,” Djokovic said.
Federer explained what made the matchup so intriguing, while discussing the importance of great rivalries in sports.
“Novak, obviously he can play on all the surfaces extremely well. He always brings a certain level of play, which is extremely high, so to beat him you have to be at your best. He’s a great mover, and I have great coordination, so we match up well against each other,” said the Swiss.
“I think actually rivalries are super important in sports, I think it also makes the game more popular. I think you always need somebody who you can have a good rivalry with. With me… and with Djokovic, thank god I had them… I think we get the best out of one another.”
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