NOVAK DJOKOVIC may be asking Roger Federer for one or two tips in the coming weeks about how to combine parenthood with playing on the ATP Tour.
World No 1 Djokovic became a father last week and is eager to be involved in his son’s life despite his busy travelling schedule with the tennis tour.
“I will try to have my family travel with me as much as they can, obviously,” the Serbian told a news conference at the Paris Masters, which will decide the four remaining spots for this month’s ATP World Tour finals.
“For me, it’s important to participate in my child’s life as much as I can, in his development, in his growing up, in his childhood.”
Federer, who has two sets of twins, knows a thing or two about travelling with his family while on tour.
“Roger, you mentioned Roger, there are, aside him, there are many other players who have the similar situation, so I try to talk with them and get some tips or some necessary experiences that they can share with me so it can help in my own case,” said Djokovic.
There will not be a lot of baby talking, however, when business starts in Paris for Federer and Djokovic, who will battle it out this month to claim the world No 1 spot at the end of the season.
Djokovic, who has a slim advantage over world No 2 Federer, is wary of the threat.
“I never thought… never signed him out, never ruled him out,” he said.
“I always thought that he’s one of the best players in the world, and he keeps on proving to everybody that he deserves to be there.
“I have lots of respect for what he does. I don’t think that age is an issue for him. As a matter of fact, I think he’s playing some of his best tennis this year.”
While Djokovic was facing the media, play began in Paris and American qualifier Sam Querrey reached the second round by beating 2012 runner-up Jerzy Janowicz 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 6-4.
Querrey had 17 aces to 12 for Janowicz, a 2013 Wimbledon semi-finalist from Poland, and 46 winners to 32.
Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany, Fernando Verdasco of Spain and Dominic Thiem of Austria also advanced.
Kohlschreiber cruised past French wild card Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-3, 6-1 and will next play defending champion Djokovic.
Verdasco overcame American qualifier Donald Young 4-6, 6-1, 6-3, while Thiem, the youngest player in the top 50, beat Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine 6-2, 4-6, 6-0.
Janowicz won four straight points to lead 6-3 in the tiebreaker and capitalised on a double-fault from Querrey to take the first set.
But Querrey broke Janowicz twice in the second set and slammed an ace to even the match. The American broke for a 2-1 lead in the final set and converted his second match point with a forehand winner.
Santiago Giraldo of Colombia and Adrian Mannarino of France also won their first-round matches. Giraldo defeated Mikhail Youzhny of Russia 6-2, 6-4.