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Roger Federer given inspiration by Novak Djokovic on pushing forward Grand Slam return

ROGER FEDERER is yet to return to the ATP Tour since undergoing another knee surgery last summer.

 

 

Novak Djokovic is sticking to his principles in refusing to bow to enforced vaccines in order to compete on the ATP Tour this season, which could play into the hands of Roger Federer. The world No 1 gave his most in-depth interview yet on Tuesday where he opened up on his vaccine status and his chaotic 10-day period in Australia before being deported last month.

Djokovic distanced himself from the anti-vax movement and even stated he is “keeping his mind open” to the possibility of being vaccinated in the future.

But Djokovic also confirmed that he is willing to skip the French Open and Wimbledon should vaccine requirements stay in place.

“Yes, that is the price that I’m willing to pay,” he said.

When pressed to explain why he would want to potentially miss out on holding the most Grand Slam titles by a male player, Djokovic added: “Because the principles of decision making on my body are more important than any title or anything else. I’m trying to be in tune with my body as much as I possibly can.”

Djokovic’s deportation from Australia last month denied him the chance of winning his 21st Grand Slam title.

Instead, Rafael Nadal spectacularly won in one of the most dramatic major finals in recent history.

In the process, Nadal moved ahead of Federer and Djokovic on 21 Grand Slams and will be the favourite at Roland Garros to extend his lead.

Djokovic had been many people’s picks to finish with the most Grand Slams out of the ‘Big Three’, particularly after his three major wins last year.

But his vaccine stance opens the door for not only Nadal, but Federer too to hold on to his status.

Novak Djokovic prepared to abandon French Open and Wimbledon hopes
It was only a decade ago when it appeared unfathomable that anybody would catch Federer in the men’s game.

He was on his way to winning Grand Slam No 17 at Wimbledon back in 2012 where Djokovic was just starting to make an impact on the tour.

But now, Federer is at real risk of falling way behind both Nadal and Djokovic with both players keen to play for many more years.

At 40 years of age, Federer would be defying the odds should he win any more Grand Slam titles, especially given his injury record over the past two years.

Winning again on the ATP Tour when Federer does eventually return may well be out of reach.

But Djokovic’s vaccine stance could at the very least keep Federer level pegging with Djokovic on Grand Slam titles.

The likes of Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev are improving every year and are beginning to get the better of Nadal and Djokovic.

The Serbian has made no secret of his desire to finish with the most major titles in history.

However, it doesn’t appear as though that will get in the way of his own principles, which may cost him chances to win more majors this year.

And Federer will certainly be keeping a watchful eye on Djokovic’s movements as he bids to make a return to the tour this year.

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