Djokerer #45 – The match we've all been waiting for….


The battle of the ultimate warriors, a clash of the biggest heavyweights of the sport and one of the most celebrated rivalries in its history … The Federer-Djokovic rivalry is all this and more. Whoever comes out on top will get a chance to fight for the Australian Open 2016 Men’s Singles Title. But that’s not all. There’s much more at stake here than ever before.

fed djok

Thursday night’s first semi could worthily be the final; with 27 Grand Slam titles between them, these two titans have all the star power for a show worthy of any final, anywhere in the world. No tournament in the recent past is over until either Novak or Roger has won. Sure, Murray has been successful but when you it put him up against these two, he is made to look like a mere facade.


Djokovic has been a mental block in the last 4 years, beating Federer everywhere that matters to him the most. Federer’s last 3 grand slam finals have ended in losses at the hands of the Serb. On the flip side, Federer has been a painful thorn for Djokovic, denying him records, ranking points and titles over the past few years with his relentless pursuit.


It was Djokovic who was chasing Federer until 2010, but the Serb has turned the tables  since 2011 and now is a clear favourite heading into every one of their clashes including this one.

Thesse two players are so evenly matches that at face value it’s hard to tell between the two. If one were to pick a favorite without considering current form, it would be a deadlock.

Carrer Prize money in AUD and local time from Melbourne
Carrer Prize money in AUD and local time from Melbourne

Fittingly, their H2H is tied at 22 apiece. but Federer has never trailed Novak and probably isn’t planning to do so anytime soon. With a record 9 Australian Open titles between them, they’re no strangers to lifting the Norman-Brooke’s Challenge Cup either.


Djokovic and Federer are peers, but not contemporaries. Federer has seen an era of serve-volley players disappear and is still going strong in the attrition era, which is supposedly to his disadvantage.

Djokovic is the dominant No.1 now with no real competition whatsoever except what an aging Federer brings on, but Federer was probably even better in his time fighting off the younger Novak. {Insert your own weak-era argument here}

Federer’s isn’t just a pleasure to watch. He is a phenomenon that has managed to outlive his era. (He great at 22 and still is at 34) Possibly, he is improving again, defying Father Time. 

“He hasn’t really dropped the level at all, I think, in the last seven, eight years that I’ve been playing against him on the top level. He’s been playing always consistently well. It’s unbelievable. I think his backhand is better than it was maybe five, six years ago. He’s playing some terrific tennis on hard-courts.”

– Novak Djokovic on Federer’s recent years


Djokovic has always been the same. Sure, he has refined his game (serve, net-play and forehand) but no major changes of style or tactics. He hasn’t had to change because what he does is simply too good for the rest of the field.

In a period where Nadal has struggled with injury, Andy Murray’s mental fragility and Stan Wawrinka was the only other man to emerge as a grand slam force, it’s primarily been Djokovic who has held Federer back.


In the absence of Djokovic, Federer’s major tally might be as high as 20. Since 2014, Djokovic has also denied Federer in the finals of 3 Masters Series events and the ATP  World Tour Finals 2015.

Djokovic has won 10 slams now, 5 of them in Australia. He has never won the French Open (Insert FO jokes here) but has been runner up 3 times. He has won Wimbledon thrice (2011, 2014, 2015) and US Open twice(2011, 2015).



First serve : Federer

Second serve : Tie (Federer/Djokovic)

Forehand : Federer

Backhand : Djokovic

Return : Djokovic

Net play : Federer

Aggression : Federer

Defense : Djokovic

Ground-stroke Depth : Djokovic

Movement, stamina and athleticism : Djokovic

Mental toughness and resilience : Djokovic

Age factor : Djokovic

Court conditions: Djokovic (night session->slower courts)

X-factor : Federer (slightly more than Djokovic)

{X-Factor being natural talent, fan support and more experience in high-profile career matches}

It’s abundantly clear that Djokovic has everything going for him. But, Federer will feel no real pressure and when his natural game starts flowing, we all know how destructive he can be. Djokovic, of all people, knows this only too well.

Prediction: To predict a clear winner would do injustice to two great champions, but the balance of probability is that Novak Djokovic prevails in 4 sets.

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