Djokovic reckons Federer has noticeably slowed

Novak Djokovic talking  to the media at the  ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena. The Serb believes former world number one Roger Federer, who he faces tonight,  is noticeably slower on court. Photograph:  Clive Brunskill/Getty Images.

Novak Djokovic talking to the media at the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena. The Serb believes former world number one Roger Federer, who he faces tonight, is noticeably slower on court. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images.

 


Roger Federer said on his arrival in London he has at least one more grand slam within him to add to his record collection of 17. However, Novak Djokovic, who holds the Swiss in the highest regard, thinks he has slowed noticeably.

They meet for the second time in four days on the second evening of the ATP World Tour finals at the O2 Arena in Greenwich tonight, so a quick resolution of the discussion looks to be at hand.

This is the first year since 2002 Federer has not made a slam final and has drifted in the world rankings to seventh.

Circumspection
Djokovic, who came from a set down to beat Federer in the semi-finals of the Paris Masters in Bercy on Saturday, was moved to comment with circumspection yesterday:

“From my point of view he hasn’t been moving as well this year as he did the year before, and that’s one of the reasons why he hasn’t had much success this year, but he is Roger Federer, and he has achieved so much in his career.

“He is never to be underestimated as long as he plays tennis. He has an incredible quality in his game. Even though he is moving maybe slower than he used to, he is still striking the ball really well; if he strikes the ball well that day, he can beat anyone.”

There are enough considered caveats sprinkled in that observation to suggest Djokovic fancies his chances today – even though Federer is in his 12th consecutive season-ending final and chasing his seventh trophy.

Federer will take heart, too, from the sparkling debut of his compatriot and friend Stanislas Wawrinka, who, despite a dreadful second-set tie-break, served Tomas Berdych off the court in the opening match yesterday afternoon, winning 6-3, 6-7 (7-0), 6-3.

Wawrinka, having the best season of his career, is in the slightly easier draw in the round-robin format alongside Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer, who will play each other this afternoon. –Guardian Service