Federer: “It Was A Good Day For Tennis” As He Ends Djokovic’s Dream of Year End No. 1

LONDON–

The second longest-running rivalry in the Open Era had no short of excitement as Roger Federer clinched the last semifinal spot from Group Bjorn Borg by edging the 16-time Grand Slam champion in two thrilling sets.

With this defeat from Djokovic, Rafael Nadal will now officially end the year as no. 1. Djokovic needed to win this match and reach the final to have any chance of holding the year-end No. 1 position back-to-back times. This will be the fifth time that the Spaniard has reached this accolade, with the last time being in 2017.

“I’m sure he [Nadal] was watching… I knew there was a lot on the line for Novak today…  It was a good day for tennis. I’m sure to some extent, not because I beat Novak but the race of World No. 1 was riding on the match,” said the Swiss.

“I was able to produce under pressure, and I was trying to remind myself to play with less pressure than what Novak had throughout the game, and it worked. I’m very happy. I’m very pleased.”

The Swiss was clinical in every department–serving at winning 81% of his first serves and breaking the Serb’s serve three times throughout the match for instance. In addition, the 38-year-old won 16/19 on the first serve and won 4/4 on the second serve in the first set and was not broken throughout the match.

“The serve stats are clearly key to either hang with him or beat him. I did that in Paris. [Also] I did that in Wimbledon. Actually, I hardly got broken in those matches, too, and again tonight. So against Novak it seems to work well on my serve,” said the 38-year-old Federer.

“I felt from the get-go I had good rhythm off the baseline and on the serve and that I felt like he was living dangerously if he was not going to play great tennis.”

The crowd willed the 20-time Major champion on throughout the match. Especially when the Swiss crucially broke the Serb’s serve in both sets- a sudden roar from the crowd erupted as they knew how much a gamechanger the break of serve could be. The intimate indoor atmosphere at the O2 was clearly supporting the Swiss and not a sound could be heard as they anticipated a huge match for their man.

“The atmosphere in the building was very, very nice… [I] Hit the spots the way I did today is definitely special. Also just to be also strong on the shot that comes right after. And then being able to also produce good returns, because I thought I actually returned also very well today. I made a lot of returns.

Federer will now qualified for the semifinals of the Nitto ATP Finals for a record 16th time. He could face any of the four players from Group Andre Agassi as their placings will be decided Friday.

Main Photo from Getty.

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