Federer ‘a great champion’

Federer claimed the 84th title of his legendary career, kept his nose in front in his personal rivalry with Djokovic and equalled his best achievement at any tournament by winning the Dubai title for the seventh time on Saturday.

Federer served superbly, his 12 aces taking his career total past 9,000, something only three other players have done since 1991.

Even more noticable was his risk-taking, the frequency with which he approached the net, and the commitment with which he attacked his ground strokes.

Four-time Wimbledon doubles champion Peter Fleming told Sky Sports that Djokovic had no answers to the Grand Slam record-holder’s incredible performance.??

He said: “Novak is arguably the greatest returner of all time and so you just thought it was going to be a matter of time before he broke through.

“And yet, every time he got break points Roger reached back, sometimes with first serves, sometimes with big second serves, other times with big forehands.

“That???s why he???s such a great champion.”

Federer’s win puts him 20-17 up against Djokovic, but Fleming insists that the world No 1 won’t be too disheartened by the defeat.

“One thing in the back of his [Djokovic’s] mind is that he would like to retire with a winning record against everybody but certainly against Roger, and now he???s three behind him again.

“That???s just a little ego thing that all the top players have.

“Other than that I don???t think it???s a big deal at all. Right now his life is about winnig slams and being No 1 at the end of the year. To lose a match like this I don???t think he???s going to lose much sleep.”