Novak Djokovic recalls: ‘Roger Federer smashed a racquet in frustration, but I was..’

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic met in the 2009 Miami semi-final, and the Serb scored a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 triumph for his seventh Masters 1000 final. Two rivals played for the first time since the last year’s US Open, and we remember it for Roger’s unexpected tantrums and outbursts, as the Swiss smashed his racquet, received a code violation and skipped the handshake with the chair umpire Fergus Murphy. Novak broke Roger six times from ten opportunities, raising his level after the opener and finding a way to impose his strokes and take the rhythm away from his opponent. Federer made a strong start and grabbed four breaks, although it was not enough for a positive outcome after spraying 40 unforced errors, many of those in the crucial moments. Also, Djokovic overpowers Federer in the most extended exchanges to secure the win and set the final clash against Andy Murray.

Roger produced two fine holds at the start of the encounter, broke in the fourth game to open a 3-1 lead and held with two winners after deuce in game five to cement the advantage. Novak netted a backhand in the sixth game to experience another break and fall 5-1 down before pulling one break back to gather some momentum. Federer clinched the opener with a hold in game nine, looking good so far but losing ground from set number two. Novak broke him at 15 in the second game and saved a break point in the next one to open a 3-0 lead and settle into a nice rhythm. Roger pulled the break back after Novak’s double fault in game five and squandered a game point in the next one before the Serb seized the fifth break chance after the rival’s loose forehand to regain the advantage. Djokovic held at 15 in game seven and stole the rival’s serve again at 15 at 5-2 to seal the set and gather a boost ahead of the decider.

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer fought in the 2009 Miami semi-final.

Novak held with a service winner at the beginning of the final set and broke Roger at 15 in game two to build the advantage. Federer netted a routine forehand in the third game’s second point and smashed his racquet to lose focus and temper. Struggling to recover, Roger sprayed a forehand mistake in the fourth game to find himself 4-0 down and suffered the fourth consecutive break to distance himself from a positive result. Federer reduced the gap with a break in game five, and Djokovic held at love two games later to remain in front. The Swiss fired four winners at 2-5 to extend the encounter before the Serb brought the ninth game home at 15 to celebrate the third victory over Roger.

“Roger was frustrated, but I think he can give a better answer. I tried to stay focused and bring the encounter home when I was in charge. I was quite nervous in the opening set and made many errors despite landing a lot of first serves in. I changed my approach after that and played with more patience. The key game came at 3-2 in set number two. I was the better player after that and used my opportunities. My return worked well, and I forced him to play an extra shot, which was essential. We have played many times on this surface, and there are no secrets between us.

Roger did not do much in the opener, pushing my backhand and waiting for errors. I became more offensive after that, and I controlled the rallies with changes of pace in tough conditions. Roger hides his emotions well, and I could not think about what he feels at that moment; I was focused on my game. I knew I had the level to beat him, and I had to be patient and aggressive at the same time. He started making errors after the opening set, and I tried to trouble him on both wings,” Novak Djokovic said after beating Roger Federer.    

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