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‘He needs to come back’

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Eurosport UK

Novak Djokovic has revealed he told Roger Federer he is hoping to play him “at least one more time” before the Swiss retires from the sport.

The two tennis legends were caught in discussion during the Centre Court centenary celebrations at Wimbledon on Sunday.

Federer told an adoring crowd he wants to play “one more time” at SW19, where he is an eight-time champion, and Djokovic is hoping for the same.

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“I’ve told him he’s loved by many people and that he’s been greeted very nicely, and that he needs to come back so we can play at least one more time – like he said himself,” Djokovic, who faces Jannik Sinner in the quarter-finals on Wednesday, told Serbian media.

“We’ve all seen how special it was when he entered Centre Court. Everyone was on their feet, everyone showed their love and respect towards him – and he really is a legend in every way.”

Djokovic bested Federer across three Wimbledon finals in the past decade, twice in five-set thrillers.

They have clashed 50 times as professionals, with Djokovic leading the head-to-head record 27-23, and Wimbledon has provided the backdrop for some of their most memorable encounters.

Federer has not played since Wimbledon 2021 after undergoing knee surgery but is hoping to return at the Laver Cup in September.

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“Of course, he’s been one of my biggest rivals in my career and it’s been weird not seeing him participating in tournaments,” added Djokovic.

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“Roger’s been struggling with injuries for the past few years and played only a couple of tournaments – and like he said, it was weird seeing him here at Wimbledon in a different role.

“I think it’s very important for the sport that players like him play as much as they can, because it brings a lot of attention and benefits all of us.”

Djokovic reached the quarter-finals with a four-set win over Tim van Rijthoven.

The world No. 3 has not lost at the Grand Slam since 2017 and has now won 25 Wimbledon matches in a row.

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Watch daily highlights from Wimbledon at 10pm on Eurosport 2 and discovery+ from June 27, as well as the two singles finals live on July 9 and 10.

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