Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer

‘Roger Federer injury a blow for tennis, but it changes nothing for me,’ says Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic says not having to face Roger Federer in Dubai has not made winning the tournament any less of a challenge.

Federer won the title in Dubai last year and was due to defend his crown this week, but pulled out after revealing he had undergone knee surgery.

That injury will keep Federer sidelined until grass season, but Djokovic says it hasn’t affected him in terms of changing his approach.

“Not in particular,” Djokovic said when asked if Federer’s absence makes it easier for him to win the title in Dubai.

“Of course, Roger is such an important person and player and brand for our sport.

“Of course, you don’t want to see him missing one tournament, two tournaments.

“Now he’s going to be out until the grass season as I hear.

“That’s a blow for our sport and for this tournament in particular where he’s defending champion; he has won many times.

“But it doesn’t change much in terms of my approach. If he would have been here in the draw, we would possibly meet only in the final.

“You got to win four matches. You got to build your game.

“You got to win against all these guys that are playing on a high level.

“There’s some top players always from top 10, top 15; four, five players are playing each year.

“It makes this tournament a great challenge for me or for anybody else.”

Michael Graham, Editor, has been a professional sports journalist for his whole career and is especially passionate about tennis. He's been the Editor of for over 5 years and loves watching live tennis by visiting as many tournaments as possible. Michael specialises in writing in-depth features about the ATP & WTA tours.