Novak Djokovic arrived in London on Tuesday to take part in the fifth edition of the Laver Cup alongside Roger Federer. Novak and Roger met back on the pitch at the O2 Arena and the Serb is honored to be part of the same team in Roger’s last tournament of his career.
Federer will end his tennis journey on Friday. He has decided to retire after three knee surgeries and a long struggle to return to competitive sports injury-free. Novak and Roger met in that memorable 2019 Wimbledon final, the last at a major tournament for the Swiss.
The Serb fended off two match points and prevailed after almost five hours. Two great rivals played their last match at the Australian Open 2020 when Novak claimed the semi-final victory. Federer and Djokovic competed on the same side of the court during Novak’s last Laver Cup visit to Chicago in 2018.
The Swiss and the Serb took the opportunity to play their first and only doubles match on the opening day. They faced Jack Sock and Kevin Anderson and lost 6-7, 6-3, 10-6 in an hour and 35 minutes.
Novak and Roger fought well, especially in the first set. Still, it wasn’t enough for a win after he lost ground on the return in the match tiebreaker.
Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic lose their first doubles game in Chicago 2018
Anderson and Sock gave up just 13 points behind their serve.
They held the second serve safely and were never broken. Federer and Djokovic experienced a break in the second set and lost their rhythm in the third set. Both teams got off to a good start and Novak gave Team Europe a 4-3 lead with an ace in game seven.
Sock and Anderson fought for the result but had no trouble with the serve and held it at 5-6 to set up a tiebreaker. The Serb started with a volley winner and played another good one to make it 3-4.
At 5-5, Anderson missed a practiced forehand on the net and Federer ended the set with a volley winner in the next set after 49 minutes. Novak had two break points in the second game of the second set, which he deflected with four points in a row to win the set.
Kevin landed a volley winner in game four before minutes later he and Jack broke Roger’s serve to create a 3-1 lead. Anderson held with ease in the next game to confirm the lead, and Sock served with a powerful serve in the seventh game to make it 5-2.
Roger and Novak fended off a set ball on their own serve in game eight and extended the game before Jack placed a volley winner in the next game to make it 6:3. Djokovic equalized in the match tiebreak with a volley winner to make it 4-4 before the Reds took a 6-4 lead after a forehand winner from Sock.
Roger reduced the gap to 7-5 with a volley winner, and he and Novak drew closer after the next point. Anderson and Sock took an 8-6 lead and had three match points after the South African’s winner at the net. With a brilliant return winner in the 16th point, Jack sealed the match and was celebrated.