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Djokovic on his eventual retirement: “I would like my biggest rivals to be there”

Speaking ahead of his opening match at the Tel Aviv Open, the Serb said Roger Federer’s farewell had been an inspirational moment

Djokovic and Federer Laver Cup Antoine Couvercelle / Panoramic

Novak Djokovic is in Tel Aviv this week, looking to make up for lost time as he targets a place in the season-ending ATP Finals in Turin.

As the Wimbledon champion, Djokovic will be assured of a spot in Turin if he stays in the top 20 in the ATP Race (he’s currently No 17) and he begins in Tel Aviv against either Thiago Monteiro or Pablo Andujar.

Djokovic arrived in Israel having spent the weekend at the Laver Cup, where he played two singles matches and was a witness to Roger Federer‘s retirement. It will be his first Tour event since Wimbledon, having been refused entry to the United States and the US Open because of his refusal to take the Covid-19 vaccine.

The Serb said his right wrist, which he had taped in London last weekend, felt good and when asked if the manner of Federer’s retirement had made him think about his own tennis mortality, Djokovic agreed, in some way.

“It has been an epic career,” Djokovic said of Federer. “He has left a legacy and mark that will be eternal. Roger transcended sport. He is one of the most recognised athletes of all time.

“When I was on the court as well seeing his kids and his family, it got me emotional,” he said. “And also I must say I was thinking how it will look for me when I say goodbye.

“There is definitely one thing I would wish is that other than having my family and the people closest to me in my life there, I would love to have my biggest rivals there because it was something special and added importance to that moment.”

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