Roger Federer vs. Novak Djokovic: The Best Hard Court Rivalry

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Roger Federer vs. Novak Djokovic: The Best Hard Court Rivalry
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

It might sound like heresy, but at the US Open, I care more about seeing Federer play Djokovic than I do seeing Federer versus Nadal. 

Don't get me wrong: I adore the match-ups between the Swiss Maestro and the Mallorcan Matador. At least on the men's side, you have to acknowledge that their pairing has yielded some of the best matches of the open era. And at Wimbledon 2008, they produced the best match ever.

They are referred to now with one word, Fedal. They fuel Greatest of All Time debates that rage across seemingly every tennis comment thread of the last five years. They cause us to do strange things like build half grass/half clay tennis courts. 

And if I had titled this article "Federer vs. Nadal: Nothing New to Say," it would still get a few thousand hits.

But at the US Open, there is no Federer versus Nadal. Few people realize that for all their clashes on the red dirt of Roland Garros and the lawns of Wimbledon, Roger and Rafa have only had eight of their 25 meetings on hard courts, where they enjoy an even head-to-head record. Only one of these was in a hard court grand slam, at the 2009 Australian Open final. A great match, but hardly defining enough to inspire the building of a half DecoTurf/half clay court.

No, on hard courts the overlooked and underrated rivalry of the past half decade has been between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. Just how good has it been? Let's take a look. 

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