Novak Djokovic snubbed as ATP Tour friend chooses to ‘buy a ticket’ for Roger Federer

Novak Djokovic greets crowds of fans in Montenegro

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Fabio Fognini may be one of Novak Djokovic’s closest friends on the ATP Tour, but the Italian has admitted he would still choose Roger Federer if he had to pick one of the ‘Big Three’. Ever since Djokovic burst onto the scene with his first major title in 2008, he has been playing watch up with Rafael Nadal and Federer.

At the time Djokovic won the 2008 Australian Open, Federer had already dominated the years before with 12 Grand Slam titles.

Nadal was also on his way to dominating having picked up five majors, four of which came at the French Open.

Djokovic made no secret early in his career that his motivation was to catch both Federer and Nadal and be regarded as the greatest of all time.

His openness in trying to dethrone Federer and Nadal, both of whom had established themselves as two of the most popular sporting icons in the world, resulted in Djokovic often being chastised by rival fans.

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Arguably, that helped fuel Djokovic’s motivation further to get the point now where he utterly dominated the previous decade to move level on Grand Slam titles with Nadal and Federer last year.

His workman-like attitude on the court and fearless defensive abilities has resulted in Djokovic securing his place among the greatest of all time.

But he’s also yearned for that love and affection from not only tennis fans, but also his peers.

Fognini is one of a few players Djokovic considers to be a close friend on the ATP Tour, and the pair even combined to play doubles at the 2019 Indian Wells Masters.


But Fognini has conceded that, if given a choice to pick out of the ‘Big Three’, he would choose to watch Federer.

“They are unrepeatable phenomena in the history of tennis,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.

“I don’t want Rafa and Nole but I am born and I remain Federiano.

“If I have to buy a ticket, I buy it to see Roger.”

Fognini released a book in 2020, entitled ‘My Life Between the Lines’, where he spoke about playing against Djokovic.

“Novak Djokovic is tough,” Fognini said.

“When you face him he crushes you. His rhythm is so strong that you can’t think. Djokovic is called Plastic Man by many for his ability to bend like he was made out of rubber.

“He has victory in his eyes and the world number one determination.”

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