Although Novak Djokovic was managing the retirement ceremony of Roger Federer admirably, he also showed far more emotion than we've typically seen from him toward the conclusion. The following day, after defeating Frances Tiafoe in a dominant style, the 21-time Grand Slam champion addressed the fans and described how the previous night felt.
“I think we would all agree this was one of the most beautiful moments that everyone has experienced live or on TV , on the tennis courts worldwide of all time. We all knew that it was going to be an emotional farewell for Roger, I think we were all taken away by the moment and at the same time it’s a mixture of emotion" explained Djokovic summarising his own feelings as overwhelming sadness:
“Sadness because one of the greatest athletes of all time is leaving the sport, on the other hand, seeing him happy with the way it all played out, I was just very grateful to be alongside other Team World and Team Europe players to witness that. One of the most beautiful moments I’ve ever experienced in my life.”
One thing Djokovic further stressed is the sacrifice of tennis players when it comes to their careers:
“I understand and I empathise with Roger because I understand what is necessary to be on the Tour for so long. It’s an individual sport so people think it’s really only up to us, win or lose, we take the blame or credit, which is somewhat the truth but on the other side you wouldn’t be able to do it without the support of the closest ones. I think he said it beautifully that his wife Mirka and closest ones allowed him to play at such an incredible level for so long.”