Novak Djokovic is welcome at Australian Open, says tournament director; Russian and Belarusian players can compete
The man has been there, done that – and been the biggest winner – but a day before the Australian Open arrives, Roger Federer has been voted the most popular player in the history of the tournament by the fans.
For the 23-time grand slam champion and current holders of 15 singles titles and 15 from the Fed Cup, it’s a humbling moment that will make it much harder to beat him this year.
With the top two players in the world, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, both of whom Federer has taken down on the grand slams to date, out there to face him in the opening round, few players are going to want to face the top-ranked man in the history of the Australian Open at this point.
Having already defeated Federer twice on grass, Djokovic has a decent chance of beating his nemesis on that surface.
“I think Roger is one of the best players on the planet,” said Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley.
“He’s obviously the best, but a lot of people forget the last 15, 20 years he’s been playing.
“There have been some good moments when players have beaten Roger – he’s an exceptional competitor,” said Tiley.
“He’s won seven Grand Slams and it’s still all to play for. The last 15 years, he’s won 15 Grand Slams and there are only a couple of guys in the world who’ve beaten him in the last 15 years.
“The only player who’s beaten him since 1996 is the great John McEnroe, who won the Australian Open in 1986.”
Having already played in a whopping seven Majors, Federer will be the first player to go up against Djokovic in the opening round of the Australian Open since Roger Federer (Novak Djokovic)
At 38-years-old, Federer has been one of the sport’s greats while Djokovic, who also won 14 majors, is 34, an age where many would argue that there is little left to be desired.
While the Serbian has a career-high ranking of 22, Federer has been at least 18 Grand Slam titles and 15 from