'Don't think so': Roger Federer dismisses big Novak Djokovic claim

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·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
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Roger Federer says he is not prolonging his career due to the success of Novak Djokovic.
Roger Federer says he feels no pressure to prolong his career, despite key rivals Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal's continued success. (Photo by Steven Paston/PA Images via Getty Images)

Roger Federer says he remains firmly focused on his own destiny, rejecting suggestions he is prolonging his career due to the success of his rivals.

The 39-year-old Swiss superstar awaits a round of 16 showdown with Lorenzo Sonego as he aims to win a record 21st grans slam at Wimbledon.

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The beloved fan favourite has barely competed since having knee surgery after the 2020 Australian Open, spending the better part of a year recovering before returning to action in recent months.

Federer faces an uphill battle to maintain his grip on the men's grand slam record though, with the likes of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic gaining ground since the Swiss veteran's most recent grand slam win, the 2018 Australian Open.

However, he says he feels no pressure to prolong his career, despite Djokovic's high likelihood of eventually surpassing his brilliant record.

He came agonisingly close to taking his slam tally to 21 at Wimbledon two years ago, when he missed two championship points before losing to Djokovic in a fifth-set tiebreak.

"No, I don't think I'm playing because he's (Djokovic) doing well or he's doing great things. Same as Rafa. I think I'm doing my own thing," Federer said.

"I had problems of my own with the knee. That's been the focus."

Though he's preferred to keep his focus inward, Federer acknowledged Djokovic's stellar form so far in 2021.

The Serbian world No.1 has a rare opportunity to win a Golden Slam - all four majors, plus an Olympic gold medal, having won in Australia and France and likely entering the upcoming US Open as favourite.

"It's just very, very impressive to see what he's doing this year," added Federer, who is five weeks shy of celebrating his 40th birthday.

"It's going to be another big one for him the coming days. He's done incredibly well in Australia, now again also in Paris. That was exceptional. He looks like the big favourite here going into whatever round he goes into.

"He deserves it. He's worked extremely hard. He's going to be tough to beat."

Federer finds his rhythm at Wimbledon

Naturally, Federer knows that this Wimbledon marks his last grand slam before turning 40.

He knows, too, that he hadn't played a third round match at a major in nearly one and a half years.

And, truthfully, he can't possibly know how many more he has left.

Maybe that combination of factors led to the un-Federer-like reaction - arms raised in a "V," followed by a big shout and a vigorous fist pump - when he claimed a 6-4 6-4 5-7 6-4 victory over Britain's No.29 seed Cameron Norrie on Saturday.

Federer continued his quest to become only the second player in history to win nine Wimbledon singles titles after Martina Navratilova.

Roger Federer will face Lorenzo Sonego in Wimbledon's round of 16 after easing his way past Britain's No.29 seed Cameron Norrie. (Photo by AELTC/Jed Leicester - Pool/Getty Images)
Roger Federer will face Lorenzo Sonego in Wimbledon's round of 16 after easing his way past Britain's No.29 seed Cameron Norrie. (Photo by AELTC/Jed Leicester - Pool/Getty Images)

The sixth-seeded Swiss has now reached the round of 16 at a grand slam for the 69th time in his career and marked No.18 at Wimbledon.

Federer, who had two operations on his right knee in 2020 and had played only eight matches this season until this week, considered Norrie a measuring stick for where his game now stands.

Federer, who turns 40 on August 8, is the oldest man to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon since Ken Rosewall was 40 in 1975 but showed no signs of slowing down against Norrie.

"I thought I was extremely calm throughout the match. Maybe that's why I saved all the emotions for the very end of the match," said Federer.

"If I can beat somebody of his level, who's played well last week, who is playing at home, who's played a ton of matches. ... I know who I beat, you know what I mean?

"It's not just like a guy that can play good on the day. He's a good player."

With agencies

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