Roger Federer has offered long-time rival Novak Djokovic a message of congratulations after sealing his 10th Australian Open title. Federer and Djokovic, fierce rivals on court whilst the two were chasing the all-time men's grand slam record, shared a court for the final time during Federer's farewell from tennis at the Laver Cup last year.
Djokovic made a triumphant return to Melbourne Park, a year after being deported from Australia due to his vaccination status. With those rules dropped in the months leading up to the 2023 Australian Open, Djokovic was free to contest the grand slam he's enjoyed a stranglehold over for much of his career.
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Putting an injured hamstring and off-court distractions aside, Djokovic stormed into the Australian Open final where he dispatched Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets. His latest grand slam victory will see him once again become the World No.1.
Federer, who Djokovic made a point of shooting out after his semi-final victory over Tommy Paul, took to Instagram to congratulate the now 22-time grand slam champion. “Incredible effort, again! Many congratulations," the Swiss legend wrote on his Instagram story.
His numbers may show otherwise, but the super Serb is happy enough just to be recognised among the legends of the game, not necessarily the greatest of all time following his record-equalling 22nd grand slam singles triumph on Sunday night. "No, no, look, first I have to say that, I am so honoured and privileged to be in this discussion, first," Djokovic said after snaring his 10th Australian Open crown at Melbourne Park.
"Second, I truly honour and admire the history and all the greats that paved the way for all of us to be here where we are. I feel like it's difficult to have a conversation about this because every generation is different.
"You know, 30, 40 years ago you played three out of four slams on the grass with wooden racquets. Technology has advanced so much. Things have changed. Hard to compare generations.
"But I feel like I gave my best really and I'm still doing that. So if the people see me as one of the greatest players to ever play the game, I'm very grateful."
Novak Djokovic congratulated by rivals after 10th Australian Open win
Djokovic's victory at Melbourne Park, as well as his win at Wimbledon last year, were enough to see him draw level with Rafael Nadal on 22 career grand slams. Nadal came back from injury in 2022 to win the Australian Open in Djokovic's absence, as well as winning the 2022 French Open.
This year's Roland Garros tournament looms as a watershed moment for men's tennis, with both players set to enter the tournament as heavy favourites to win their 23rd grand slam. Such a feat would see them equal Serena Williams' career record, and move then one behind tying the all-time record held by Margaret Court.
Nadal also took to social media to congratulate Djokovic on his latest grand slam success. "Congrats Nole, to you and your team for this great achievement. Enjoy the moment!" he wrote.
Already the longest-serving world No.1 in history, Djokovic will return to the summit on Monday for a record-extending 374th week after knocking injured Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz from his perch. The father of two is also the only man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four grand slam singles titles simultaneously - and the only man to achieve the non-calendar-year grand slam on three different surfaces.
Djokovic also enjoys a winning head-to-head record over Nadal (30-29) and the other GOAT contender Roger Federer (27-23) and owns the most Masters 1000 titles. And he's not finished yet.
"I feel game-wise physically I still can sustain and maintain the top level," he said before Sunday night's final. "So as long as that's the case, why not keep going?
"I don't know when the end is going to happen in terms of professional career. Right now I have the motivation, I have support of the close ones, which is also something that is probably underestimated and not maybe talked about a lot, but it's a key, especially as a father.
"Being absent from the children is not something that makes me very happy. It's a balancing act between me and my wife and the close people in my life. "So her being there for our children and everything, it allows me to be able to do what I love and still make some strides, significant strides, in this sport."
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