Roger Federer may not have won the Cincinnati Open final, but he showed his incredible class afterwards.
Novak Djokovic became the first player to claim the career ‘Golden Masters’ on Monday morning, following his straight sets win over Federer in Cincinnati.
Djokovic’s 6-4 6-4 victory gives him all nine titles in the elite series that began in 1990 and continues his stunning comeback from elbow surgery.
Despite the disappointment of losing the final, Federer proved once again why he is the most-loved man in tennis.
His first classy act came just after match point when Federer smiled and hugged Djokovic at the net, offering some nice words of congratulations.
But it was his runner-up speech that won over even more fans.
Federer made sure to make all the attention about Djokovic’s incredible slice of tennis history, despite himself not yet achieving it.
“That’s what the headline should be about – this is such an amazing accomplishment,” Federer said.
“He’s the first to do it. I think it’s very difficult to win Masters 1000s.
“These performances don’t come easy.”
Djokovic now leads their all-time series 24-22, doing much better in the biggest matches.
He’s 3-1 against Federer in grand slam finals and 12-6 overall in championship matches, including wins at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2015.
Djokovic completed a long comeback from elbow surgery by winning his fourth Wimbledon title last month, then set out to get his hard-court game in order for the US Open. He got better as the rainy week went on in Cincinnati, playing his best at the end.
“Obviously it’s a very special moment to stand here for the first time with the winning trophy,” former world No.1 Djokovic said.
“The hard times I went through, it’s been a rollercoaster ride in my career with injury, taking time off and having a surgery earlier this year.
“This seems a bit unreal to be back at this level and winning Wimbledon and obviously Cincinnati for the first time.”
After securing the victory, Djokovic raised both arms and roared. Then he jumped and punched the air before giving his racket to a fan and tossing his sweatbands into the stands.
“Thank you for letting me win once in Cincinnati,” he told Federer as they stood on court for the trophy presentation.
“Obviously it was a tough match for him today, he probably didn’t feel his best, but he is a great champion and probably the best ever to play the game.”