Novak Djokovic sends Roger Federer retirement message as pair battle for GOAT status

Tennis Grand Slams: Who is the greatest of all time?

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Novak Djokovic sent a message to Roger Federer on his 40th birthday. The Serb featured in a video released by the ATP with players wishing the Swiss Maestro a happy birthday.

He said to his great rival: “Hey Roger, happy 40th birthday, wow what a milestone.

“You still keep on inspiring and thriving on the court, off the court, and inspiring all of us.”

However, as Novak continued, he thanked his great rival for his contributions to tennis, alluding to possible retirement.

“It’s been a huge honour to share the tennis court and tennis circuit with you in the last 15 years,” he added.

“Hopefully you can still keep on playing, the sport needs you of course and thanks for everything you have done.

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“Thanks for showing us that even at that age we can keep playing on a very very high level, all the best. Thanks again for everything.”

Federer has been wowing tennis fans across the globe for over 20 years and fears he may soon hang up his racket escalated after a straight sets loss in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon last month.

He suffered a 6-3 7-6(4) 6-0 loss to 14th seed Hubert Hurkacz, making it the first time Federer has been bagelled at the All England Club, and the second time this century alongside one to Nadal at Roland Garros in 2008.

The 20-time grand slam champion has remained tight-lipped on when he may choose to end his career and it is unclear when he will return to the court.

Last week the world number nine pulled out of the upcoming Masters 1000 tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati, casting doubt over his appearance at the US Open.

Tennis Canada and the Western and Southern Open confirmed the Swiss legend’s withdrawal last week.

Federer, who has missed most of the tour since last year’s Australian Open and underwent two knee surgeries in 2020, specified the continuous knee injury as his reason for pulling out of the US Open Series events.

He has played just five events this year, with his best showings being quarter-final appearances at Wimbledon and Doha.

World number one Djokovic had already pulled out of this week’s National Bank Open following his Olympic exploits, which saw him play three matches in the space of 24 hours.

The Serb was aiming to achieve the Golden Slam, winning all four Majors and Olympic gold in one year, but lost in the semi-finals to Alexander Zverev before also suffering defeat in the bronze medal match against Pablo Carreno Busta the following day.

He had also lost his mixed doubles semi-final alongside compatriot Nina Stojanovic just hours after his loss to the German, and pulled out of their bronze medal match after losing to Carreno Busta in a match that saw him hurl his racket into the empty stands.

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