Novak Djokovic on Murray’s pressure and Federer ‘proving everyone wrong’
Novak Djokovic reflects on Andy Murray and Roger Federer's fortunes at the ATP World Tour Finals
Novak Djokovic defeated his third top-eight colleague for the loss of games you could count on one hand: Tomas Berdych won four games, Stan Wawrinka had taken three the day before, and Marin Cilic just two in the first round-robin.
Fatherhood clearly suits him. Even by his standards, he has looked supremely confident, relaxed and focused since he arrived in London to claim the year-end No1 ranking and target his third straight World Tour Finals title. The word, thus far, is serene.
But irrespective of his own easy progress, he afterwards conveyed a little of how difficult it is to succeed among tennis’s elite at this most prestigious tournament.
On Murray: “I don’t know how to answer the question of how I would react if I was Murray [winning only one game against Federer] because I’m not in his shoes and I don’t know how he feels, what he went through.
“I know one thing is for sure, that it’s very difficult to kind of keep playing on the highest possible level because of all the expectations and pressures, and so forth. For him playing here obviously at home, with the crowd support, it’s an additional pressure.”
On Federer: “Roger, on the other hand, is playing some of his best tennis I think since I know him and since I watch him. He changed the racket last year I think midway through the season.
“Okay, few things didn’t go the way they did maybe eight or nine years before that. When you see Roger, you expect him to be top two of the world and win Grand Slams. That didn’t happen last year. He didn’t have such a great year. But this season he’s come back again.
“We played amazing finals at Wimbledon. We fight all the way through basically the last few days of the season for No1. That proves how good he played over the course of 12 months. He won five, six, seven titles.
“I didn’t ever count him out. Even last year, people started talking, because they always talk, ‘It’s over, he’s too old’, stuff like this. He’s still playing great and he’s proving that, proving everybody wrong.”
Djokovic plays Kei Nishikori in today’s first semi-final while Federer plays Wawrinka in the second. Should they both win, the top two players of 2014, who both also became fathers during the season, will face off for a remarkable sixth time this year and the 37th time in their careers.