5 Sep 2013

Djokovic: give Federer a break

5:44 am on 5 September 2013

World tennis number one Novak Djokovic has leapt to the defence of Roger Federer, telling critics of the slumping Swiss to give the 17-time major winner a break.

Federer suffered a stunning US Open fourth round straight-sets upset at the hands of Spanish 19th seed Tommy Robredo on Tuesday.

It's the the first year since 2002 that the 32-year-old has not made a grand slam final and sparked speculation over his future in the sport with the loss to Robredo coming on the heels of a second-round exit at Wimbledon.

Djokovic points out that Federer did not play close to his maximum level so it's a question of why is he not playing well, and people need to give him a break because it's normal to expect that he's not moving as well as he did when he was No.1 and he was so dominant.

The Serb says the Swiss great's still playing really well and definitely deserves to be one of the top five players in the world, and Djokovic would not be advising Federer on what his future plans should be despite his rival having slipped to seven in the world, his lowest ranking for over a decade.

Djokovic says Federer is 32-years-old but Germany's Tommy Haas is 35 and is close to the top 10, so while people always see Roger as a top three or top two guy and competing for grand slam titles, that's not happening, and all of a sudden it's a huge surprise.

World No.3 Andy Murray, the defending champion, says he was surprised to see Robredo beat Federer for the first time in 11 meetings but the Scot believes a series of wins could restore Federer's place in the elite.