Novak Djokovic reacts to Roger Federer decision at Italian Open – ‘He is the biggest name'

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On Saturday, Federer announced his decision to play in Rome for the first time in three years and will begin his campaign against Joao Sousa.

In light of Federer’s decision to play, the president of the Italian Tennis Federation revealed they would double the price of tickets for the session to “reward fans who had bought tickets before they knew Federer would play”.

Federer was then asked about the decision in his pre-tournament media briefing and said: “[It’s] disappointing.

“They made it in a way like they rewarded the fans who bought tickets earlier? Which is sort of strange, but okay.

“I just really hope it doesn’t take away the fact I’m really happy to be here.”

Djokovic, who won at the Madrid Open on Sunday, was also asked to give his view on the decision.

And the world No 1 stressed that he didn’t feel disrespected and hoped Federer’s arrival would create more revenue for the tournament.

”It’s the first time I’ve heard that information,” Djokovic said.

“I don’t think that because Roger hasn’t won here that it affects his value or what he brings to the world of tennis or any tournament.

“He is the biggest name of all, historically he’s won the most titles, he is a huge brand in sports worldwide, one of the biggest of all time.

“From one side, I can maybe understand. I don’t feel offended or feel it has disrespected me or Rafa or anybody else.

“The bottom line is that if it brings more tickets and more attendance to the tournament, that great for everybody, I hope it does. If not, too bad.”

Djokovic will also play his first match in Rome on Wednesday, against Denis Shapovalov.

The Canadian beat Pablo Carreno Busta in the first round and says he enjoying the conditions.

He said: “I had better preparation here in Rome than last year, it was great to be on the court a couple of days earlier and get used to conditions.

“The conditions are slower than in Madrid but I managed to make a good start, playing on fire and staying untroubled throughout the match, especially on my serve.”

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