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Roger Federer set the tone for achieving ‘excellence with integrity and balance’, says Novak Djokovic

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Roger Federer set the tone for achieving ‘excellence with integrity and poise’, says longtime rival Novak Djokovic as Serbia pays tribute to retired 20-time Grand Slam champion

  • Djokovic paid tribute to Federer after Swiss legend announced his retirement
  • The Serb and Federer faced each other 50 times between 2006 and 2020
  • The long-term rivals have also competed in five Grand Slam finals

Novak Djokovic paid tribute to Roger Federer’s “integrity and poise” after announcing his impending retirement.

Federer revealed on Thursday that at the age of 41 he will be calling on his professional career after next week’s Laver Cup in London.

Djokovic will also be part of Team Europe at The O2, with the Serb’s big four, Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray reuniting one last time.

Novak Djokovic with Roger Federer at the Centenary of the Center Court of Wimbledon

Federer and Djokovic faced each other 50 times between 2006 and 2020, including five Grand Slam finals, with the latter writing on Instagram: “Roger, it’s hard to see this day and put into words everything we’ve shared in this sport together.

“More than a decade of incredible moments and battles to remember. Your career has set the tone for what it means to achieve excellence and lead with integrity and balance.

“It’s an honor to know you on and off the track, and for many years to come. I know this new chapter will have great things for you, Mirka, the kids, all your loved ones and Roger fans still have a lot to look forward to.

“From our family to yours, we wish you much joy, health and prosperity in the future. I look forward to celebrating your achievements and seeing you in London.”

Serbian and longtime rival Federer faced each other 50 times between 2006 and 2020

Serbian and longtime rival Federer faced each other 50 times between 2006 and 2020

Serena Williams welcomed Federer into the ‘retirement club’, with the two greats finishing their careers within weeks of each other.

Williams, who said goodbye to the US Open in emotional scenes, wrote on Instagram that she was among the “millions and millions” of people Federer had inspired throughout his 24-year career.

She said, “I wanted to find the perfect way to say this because you’ve calmed down this game so eloquently – perfectly done, just like your career.

“I’ve always looked up to you and admired you. Our paths were always so similar, so much the same. You have inspired countless millions and millions of people – including me – and we will never forget it.

The two tennis greats also competed in five Grand Slam finals

The two tennis greats also competed in five Grand Slam finals

“I applaud you and look forward to everything you do in the future. Welcome to the pension club. And thank you for being yourself.’

Venus Williams, who is still playing at age 42, said on Instagram: “The best ever. Miss you already.’

Federer made the announcement via a social media letter, accepting defeat in his bid to recover from a third knee surgery in 18 months.

“As many of you know, the last three years have presented me with challenges in the form of injuries and surgeries,” he said. “I have worked hard to get back to full competitive form.

Federer has announced he will retire from competitive tennis at age 41

Federer has announced he will retire from competitive tennis at age 41

“But I also know my body’s capabilities and limits, and the message to me has been clear lately. I am 41 years old. I’ve played over 1,500 games in 24 years.

“Tennis has treated me more generously than I could have ever dreamed, and now I have to recognize when it’s time to end my competitive career.”

Concluding the letter, Federer said: “I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart, to everyone around the world who helped make the dreams of a young Swiss ball kid come true.

“Finally, to tennis: I love you and will never leave you.”

The Swiss star will wave goodbye to the sport when he plays at the Laver Cup next week

The Swiss star will wave goodbye to the sport when he plays at the Laver Cup next week

Tributes poured in from across the sports world and beyond, which continued on Friday.

Nick Kyrgios wrote on Instagram, “No one will ever play the game like you. Enjoy @rogerfederer …… was an honour.’

Coco Gauff added: ‘Thank you @rogerfederer for improving the game on and off the pitch in so many ways.

“Thank you for all the advice you’ve given me over the years. Thank you for being the best role model for so many. Thanks for everything.’

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