Roger Federer has said he “couldn’t have been more happy” for Novak Djokovic following the Serbian’s 23rd Grand Slam win at the French Open this week, a win that means Djokovic now holds the record for most Grand Slams wins ever.
Rafael Nadal previously held the title, with twenty-two Grand Slam triumphs. Speaking at the opening of a new tennis court in the borough of Greenwich, London, which has been designed to celebrate Federer’s tennis legacy, the 41-year-old Swiss native said Djokovic’s win was “great for tennis.”
“I thought what Novak did was incredible ,” he said. “It’s great for tennis, great for sports, when tennis writes its own history. It keeps on adding to it like we’ve seen with Serena Williams, Rafa, myself, and now with Novak – it’s a great time for tennis to be honest. To be a fan as well but also a player.”
Addressing how he managed to carve out so many Grand Slam wins himself, Federer said: “I remember when I came on tour and Pete Sampras had reached 14 [Grand Slam wins] we thought, ‘okay that one is going to stay forever.’ Then I went to 15, then we pushed each other to 20, I don’t remember who was first, then Rafa pushed it to 22 I believe and now Novak pushed it to 23 and it looks like he’s going to keep on doing that for a long time still to come which is great and I wish him all the best. He’s not the youngest anymore, he looks young but its not easy. I thought it was an amazing victory and I couldn’t have been more happy for him to be honest.”
Asked about Andy Murray’s future prospects as Wimbledon approaches, Federer asked those watching him at the new tennis court opening to join him in a round of applause for the Scotsman. “Andy is a special man,” he said. “I’m very happy he’s still able to play you know, he loves it, he truly loves it. I think with all these complications he’s had with his hip it’s amazing to see that he’s still going. What he’s going through is incredible.
“Funnily enough he just won a challenger in Surbiton last week – he played that the same week Novak got to this incredible record of 23 slams so he deserves so much respect. I hope he’s going to win many many rounds at Wimbledon in a couple of weeks.”
Roger Federer retired in 2022 and said today he felt “shy” about returning to tennis, joking he had become “a professional driver” for his four children in Switzerland, playing tennis with them and working on brand partnerships. “Retired life is good,” he said. “The best part about being retired is just not having to put the body through the wringer every single day. Of course I still enjoy going out on the tennis court, especially with my children, so whenever I get a chance to go on the tennis court it makes me very happy. Especially here in London where I have a great history in terms of results.”