Novak Djokovic arrived in London on Tuesday, joining Roger Federer at the fifth edition of the Laver Cup. Novak and Roger met on the court at O2 Arena, and the Serb felt honored to compete in the same team at Roger’s last tournament of his career.
Federer will end his tennis journey on Friday, deciding to retire following three knee surgeries and a long struggle to get back and compete injury-free. Novak and Roger met in that memorable 2019 Wimbledon final, the last at Majors for the Swiss.
The Serb saved two match points and prevailed in just under five hours. Two great rivals played their last match at the 2020 Australian Open when Novak earned the semi-final victory. Federer and Djokovic competed on the same side of the court during Novak’s previous Laver Cup visit in Chicago 2018.
The Swiss and the Serb used the opportunity to play their first and only doubles match on an opening day. They faced Jack Sock and Kevin Anderson and experienced a 6-7, 6-3, 10-6 loss in an hour and 35 minutes. Novak and Roger fought well, especially in the first set.
Still, it was not enough to score a win after losing ground on the return in the match tie break.
Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic lost their first doubles match in Chicago 2018.
Anderson and Sock dropped just 13 points behind their initial shot.
They kept the second serve safe and never got broken. Federer and Djokovic experienced one break in the second set and could not find the rhythm in the decider. Both teams made a reliable start behind the initial shot, and Novak felt Team Europe 4-3 in front with an ace in game seven.
Sock and Anderson chased the result but faced no issues behind the initial shot, holding at 30 at 5-6 to introduce a tie break. The Serb started it with a volley winner and played another good one at 3-4. Anderson netted a routine forehand at 5-5, and Federer wrapped up the set with a volley winner in the next one after 49 minutes.
Novak faced two break points in the second set’s second game, and they clinched four straight points to avoid the setback. Kevin landed a volley winner in game four before he and Jack broke Roger at love a few minutes later to build a 3-1 lead.
Anderson held with ease in the next one to confirm the advantage, and Sock fired a booming serve in game seven for 5-2. Roger and Novak saved a set point on serve in game eight to prolong the action before Jack placed a volley winner in the next one for 6-3.
Djokovic locked the result at 4-4 in the match tie break with a volley winner before the red squad forged a 6-4 lead after Sock’s forehand winner. Roger reduced the deficit to 7-5 with a volley winner, and he and Novak moved closer after taking the next point.
Anderson and Sock gained an 8-6 lead and earned three match points following the South African’s winner at the net. Jack fired a booming return winner in the 16th point to seal the deal and start the celebration.