Novak Djokovic Wants His Retirement To Resemble Roger Federer’s Alongside Rivals

Novak Djokovic doesn’t have any immediate plans to retire, but when he does, he wants it to resemble Roger Federer’s emotional farewell from last Friday at the Laver Cup.

After Federer and longtime rival and friend Rafael Nadal lost their doubles match to Americans Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock in London — in Federer’s final competitive match — the two were shown crying during an emotional farewell ceremony. Djokovic and Andy Murray, the other members of the so-called “Big 4,” were also on hand for the celebration.

Led by co-captains John and Patrick McEnroe, Team World won its first Laver Cup title by beating Team Europe, which was coached by Bjorn Borg and featured Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray.

“It was just a very touching, very emotional moment,” Djokovic, 35, told reporters on Tuesday in Tel Aviv, Israel, where he will play an ATP 250 event this week.

“Seeing his kids and his family, it got me emotional as well. I also must say I was thinking about how it would look for me when I say goodbye to tennis.

“There is definitely one thing that I will wish to have, other than, of course, my family and the close people in my life, I would love to have my biggest rivals and competitors there. Because it added something more special, added more importance to that moment.”

Djokovic owns 21 career Grand Slam singles titles, one more than Federer and one fewer than Nadal’s 22.

His uncle recently suggested that Djokovic could play another five years.

“The ordeal [Djokovic] went through this year in Australia only extended his career,” Goran Djokovic, Novak’s uncle, said recently. “Instead of maybe retiring from tennis in three or four years, his career has been extended for five, or six years. He is resting his body.”

Though Federer is riding off into the sunset at 41 after several knee surgeries, he wishes the best for is old rivals.

“I’m happy I could go first, because I am supposed to go first,” he told Chris Clarey of The New York Times. “So that’s why it’s felt good. And I hope that they can all play as long as possible and squeeze that lemon out. I really wish the best for them.”

Djokovic said Nadal remains his biggest rival.

“We played the most matches against each other of any other rivalry in the history of tennis,” said Djokovic, who missed the Australian and US Opens this year due to not being vaccinated against COVID-19.

“The rivalry is very special and keeps going. Hopefully, we’ll get a chance to play against each other more times. Because it’s exciting for us and also for tennis fans and sport fans around the world.”