Federer withdrawal gives Djokovic victory and contention for another Laureus Award
November 17, 2014
It was to be the final match of the season, the grand finale at the ATP World Tour Finals, between two former Laureus Award winners and the two best players in the world.
Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer were set to resume their rivalry for the 37th time, but following Federer’s epic win against compatriot Stan Wawrinka in the semi-finals, the Swiss maestro was forced to pull out with an injury before even striking a ball, marking just the third time in his career he gave his opponent a walkover.
Novak Djokovic, who is coached by Laureus Academy Member Boris Becker, therefore joins another Laureus Academy Member in Ilie Nastase, as well as Ivan Lendl, as the only players to win the season finale three consecutive times. The 27 year old finished as year-end world No. 1 for a third time in four years, an achievement that came two weeks after claiming his 600th match victory en route to his 20th Masters 1000 crown in Paris. This puts him in the running for yet another nomination for a Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award, which he won in 2012.
“You never like to win, especially these big matches against big rivals, with a retirement," said Djokovic in his press conference. "Today it's not easy because I didn't play the final against Roger.”
Federer went on court in a track suit to tell the crowd he wasn't match fit and later revealed he hurt his back late in the match versus Wawrinka.
"I wanted to come out personally and excuse myself. It's been a great week for me. I played some great tennis and I love coming to the O2 and to London, and there's been so many great memories for me here."
Following Federer’s announcement, Djokovic stuck around to play a pro-set against Andy Murray which was followed by a doubles exhibition match featuring Murray and John McEnroe against Pat Cash and Laureus Ambassador Tim Henman.
Djokovic, who could pick up his second Laureus Award in Shanghai early next year, added: “Right now I'm at the pinnacle in my career. I physically feel very fit. I'm very motivated to keep on playing on a very high level. As long as it's like that, I'm going to try to use these years in front of me to fight for World No. 1 and to fight for the biggest titles in the sport."