Novak Djokovic apologises to Roger Federer and pays wholehearted tribute to retiring star

Novak Djokovic apologised to Roger Federer as he paid tribute to his long-time rival following the 41-year-old's retirement at the Laver Cup. Follo

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Novak Djokovic apologised to Roger Federer as he paid tribute to his long-time rival following the 41-year-old’s retirement at the Laver Cup. Following Federer’s final match on Friday night, the world No 7 played and won his first match for Team Europe on Saturday, then making a heartfelt speech about his rival as he apologised for making him “tear up”.

Federer’s incredible 24-year career came to an end in the early hours of Saturday at the Laver Cup in London, as the 103-time title winner said farewell to professional tennis at the O2 Arena with his Team Europe and Team World colleagues by his side. The 41-year-old was in tears as his retirement became a reality and his family joined him on the court in an emotional ceremony.

Rafael Nadal has already shared his thoughts on his friend and rival’s retirement as he joined Federer in the doubles for the Swiss star’s farewell match. And their fellow Big Three rival Djokovic has now paid a heartfelt tribute to the 20-time Major champion as he shared his thoughts on the “beautiful moment”.

Speaking after he won his first match of the weekend 6-1 6-3 over Frances Tiafoe, Djokovic said: “Well, I think we would all agree that this was one of the most beautiful moments that everyone has experienced live or on TV in a tennis court.

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“We all knew that it’s going to be [an] emotional farewell for Roger but, you know, I think we were all taken away by the moment,” he added, referencing the tears that were seen from several players. “And just yeah, I mean at the same time it’s kind of a mix of emotional stuff.”

One of Federer’s main contenders in the GOAT debate, the 21-time Major winner claimed that his rival was one of the greatest as he continued: “Sadness because one of the greatest athletes of all time is leaving the sport. On the other hand seeing him happy with the way it all played out, I was just very grateful really and privileged to be alongside other Team World and Team Europe players to witness that.

“It’s one of the most beautiful moments I’ve ever experienced in my life for sure.” And Djokovic then apologised to his Europe teammate as he shared his highlight of the night, joking that he could trigger some more tears from the retiring star.

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