Over the years, Roger Federer has cultivated the crowd support irrespective of where he is playing. From Miami to Melbourne and Beijing to Barcelona, Roger Federer has been the one player, who found the crowd rooting for him everywhere. The 2016 Australian Open was no different. Federer’s fans had expected his Thursday’s semifinal against Novak Djokovic to turn into an epic but Djokovic was too clinical against Federer. The Serb finished the first two sets in less than an hour and Federer was allowed just 3 points out of 15. But every point that Federer won was greeted with a deafening applause while support for the Serb was audibly muted despite his entry to the final. Djokovic came out of the match as an epitome of power and earned the distinction of making the Australian Open final for the sixth time in his career. He clearly denied Federer a chance of an 18th Grand Slam title. Apart from losing the match, Federer also lost some temper while talking to a journalist in a post-match interview, when he was posed a long-worded question. He branded the poorly-phrased question as stupid. However, when Djokovic was asked about the unstinted crowd support for Federer, he replied saying it was because Federer had earned the respect of the global crowd. The Serb added that the crowd’s partisan behavior didn’t irk him.
When the no.2 seeded Andre Agassi defeated 13th seeded Roger Federer 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in a fourth round match of the 2001 US Open, there were no surprises. Federer had yet to attain the supreme status in the game and he took the defeat in his stride. But it was the last time ever that Federer won only three games in the first two sets. Now Djokovic has done the same to Federer 15 years later. Earlier in 2001, the 20-year old Federer had reached the quarterfinals of the French and Wimbledon. In fact, Federer had surprised everyone by defeating Pete Sampras in Wimbledon fourth round to reach the quarterfinals. He couldn’t progress beyond that. Two years later, Federer won the 2003 Wimbledon to begin his now famous Grand Slam journey.
Federer must be a disappointed man to be losing so poorly to Novak Djokovic despite the Serb’s world no.1 status. When a journalist asked him a long-winded question that went something like this; “How do you feel about Djokovic’s recent run of dominance in which he won three Grand Slams in 2015 and became first man in history to reach six Australian Open finals. Is it because the Serb didn’t have to face the same standard of player these days that you had to contend with back in the mid-2000s when you were considered the best in the world?” Federer looked bewildered and paused for a while before replying that the reporter had better be careful about phrasing such a long question. The Swiss felt it was unfair on the reporter’s part to be disrespectful to the players. Later, he termed the query as stupid.
Djokovic was a picture of humility, when asked how he felt about Federer receiving the majority of the crowd support. He handled the question by responding that Federer is loved and respected around the world and he doesn’t feel bad about it. In response to another question, Djokovic credited Federer and Nadal for his current status in tennis. Djokovic was candid in his admission that both Federer and Nadal have contributed a lot to his career and the success. He added that playing against these two so many times has made him a better player.
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