The day after one of the most emotional nights in the tennis world in recent memory—Roger Federer’s last professional tennis match, and all of the celebrations, speeches and tears that followed—Novak Djokovic took the court for his first match since Wimbledon, defeating US Open semifinalist Frances Tiafoe, 6-1, 6-3.

After the victory, Djokovic did his first on-court interview since lifting his seventh trophy at the All England Club, and was asked about the night before.

“Well, I think we would all agree that this was one of the most beautiful moments that everyone has experienced live, or on the TV, or on the tennis courts, worldwide, of all time,” Djokovic said. “I think we all knew that it was going to be an emotional farewell for Roger, but I think we were all taken away by the moment.

“At the same time it’s kind of a mix of emotions. Sadness because one of the greatest athletes of all time is leaving the sport, but on the other hand seeing him happy with the way it all played out—and I was just grateful, really, and privileged to be alongside other Team World and Team Europe players to witness that.

“It was one of the most beautiful moments I’ve ever experienced in my life, for sure.”


Djokovic, a father of two whose charity, the Novak Djokovic Foundation, helps children from disadvantaged communities gain access to preschool education, then elaborated on which part of the night before hit him the hardest.

“I can speak on my own behalf, what got me the most emotional is when his children came up and I saw them tearing up," he said. "That was, yeah—sorry, Roger, I don’t want to tear you up again, but it was a beautiful moment. And it’s very nice to see Roger’s parents here in London, and of course family—Mirka, kids, everyone who has been such an instrumental part of his life and of his career.

“I understand and I empathize with Roger, because I understand exactly what is necessary in order for you to be on the tour for such a long time. It’s an individual sport, so people think that it’s really only up to us, and win or lose we take the blame or we take the credit, which is somewhat of the truth—but on the other side, we wouldn’t be able to do it without the support of the closest ones, and I think he said it beautifully yesterday that his wife Mirka and closest people in his life allow him to be able to play in such an incredible level for so many years.

“And I’m talking too much,” Djokovic added, lightening the moment. “There’s a lot I want to say, you know, I’m sorry, I haven’t been on the tour for a while! And obviously, I’ve also witnessed something that is extremely unique and special, so you know we can’t get enough of that moment, what we witnessed yesterday.

“But I gotta run, because I’ve gotta be on the court in 20 minutes or so!”

Djokovic returned to the court shortly afterwards, partnering Italy's Matteo Berrettini for a doubles victory over Team World's Alex de Minaur and Jack Sock.

This wasn’t the first time that Federer and Djokovic were Laver Cup teammates—they also played on Team Europe together in 2018, when the event was held in Chicago. They even played a doubles match together that year, falling to Sock and Kevin Anderson in a match tie-break, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 10-6.