Federer vs. Djokovic: Breaking Down History of Soon-to-Be Epic Rivalry

Tim KeeneyContributor IJune 6, 2012

ROME, ITALY - MAY 19:   Roger Federer of Switzerland plays a forehand in his match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia during day eight of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia 2012 Tennis on May 19, 2012 in Rome, Italy.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

At the French Open, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic haven't quite established the rivalry of Federer and Nadal or even Djokovic and Nadal, but they will be well on their way after Friday's semifinal, which shouldn't disappoint.

As the rivalry between these two begins to get bigger than ever, let's take a look back at their history on clay together.


Before 2011

Prior to 2011, Djokovic and Federer met just three times on a clay surface, and none of those were at the French Open. 

The first occurred at Monte Carlo in 2006, when Federer was the King of everything—except when it came to the French Open against Rafael Nadal—and Djokovic was a mere 19-year-old.

Fed-Ex managed to get past Djokovic, but it took all three sets. 

The next meeting came again at Monte Carlo, this time in 2008. Federer led 6-3, 3-2 before Djokovic retired due to a breathing illness.

Djoker was finally able to get to Federer in 2009 when the two met in the semifinals of the Italian Open. Federer won the first set, but Djokovic won the next two to take the match before falling to Nadal in the finals.

Coincidentally, after falling to Djokovic on clay for the first time in his career, Federer went on to beat Nadal at Madrid, and then won his only French Open title a few weeks later. 


French Open 2011

Finally, last year, Federer and Djokovic met in the French Open, and they did not disappoint. 

Fed-Ex won in four sets, but it was much closer than it sounds, as he benefited from winning the tiebreak in both the first and fourth set. 

It was an evenly fought match. Federer got in 65 percent of his first serves, broke Djoker four times, smashed 48 winners and had 46 unforced errors.

Djokovic, on the other hand, put in 67 percent of his first serve, broke Federer four times, had 40 winners and 41 unforced errors. 

In the end, Federer's 18 aces combined with his ability to control the net were the deciding factors.

He, of course, went on to lose to Nadal in a final that was just as exciting. 


Rome 2012

Just two weeks ago, Djokovic knocked off Federer in straight sets in the semifinals at Rome. 

Federer only got in 49 percent of his serves and simply didn't look like his normal self as Djokovic broke him three times and rolled to a fairly easy victory.

Of course, if history is any indication, Federer will rebound from this loss and go on to win the French Open, just like in 2009.

But this isn't quite 2009. Djokovic is better, and Nadal will likely be waiting in the finals. 

Nonetheless, we have another Federer-Djokovic matchup, and no matter who comes out on top, color me excited that the number of these duels have been increasing in the past two years.