Baby talk inspires Federer, Djokovic at Wimbledon
LONDON — While Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic look ahead to their maiden Wimbledon semifinal appearances with rookie enthusiasm, opponents Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are making baby talk.
In a Grand Slam collision of raw, new age talent and battle-hardened, time-served champions, the tyros and warhorses are worlds apart.
Dimitrov, the 23-year-old Bulgarian for so long dubbed “Baby Fed” due to his similarities with the Swiss master tackles six-time major winner Djokovic for a place in Sunday’s Wimbledon final.
Later Friday, Raonic, the first Canadian man to get this far since 1908, will face seven-time Wimbledon winner and 17-time major champion Federer.
But where they will spend most of the build-up talking tactics, Federer and Djokovic will be exchanging tips on child care.
Federer, 32, is already the father of two sets of twins with wife Mirka.
Sons Leo and Lenny were born in May following the arrival of girls, Myla Rose and Charlene Riva, four years ago.
Djokovic and his fiancee Jelena Ristic, meanwhile, are expecting their first child later this year.
The world number two Serb, 27, has been picking the brains of Federer on how to be a dad and a full-time tennis player.
“He just asked me how life was on the road, how it is to be a dad. I think it’s what like every soon-to-be dad goes through,” said Federer after reaching his ninth Wimbledon semifinal and 35th overall at the majors.
“You want to get some information, something you can wrap your mind around. I think he’s super excited. He’s very happy. I’m very happy for them.
“So he’s going through that period, which is so cool. I think it’s some of the best moments now leading into it, and then right after where I am now. If he can ask anybody, it’s me clearly.
“So I was happy to share my things with him that worked well and didn’t work well for me in the past.”
Djokovic has yet to reveal when his child will be born although the pregnancy was announced on April 27.
Djokovic said mum-to-be is thriving but gave no hint when he and his family and friends would be lighting up the celebratory cigars.
“The date is coming closer. The stomach is growing. If you have kids, you know how that feels,” said the Serb.
“For us, it’s a new chapter of our lives. It’s a new experience. We’re full of joy. What can I say? It can only bring positive things to us. It’s the most beautiful news that I ever received when she told me she was pregnant.”
“We’re together almost nine years, and this is the crown of our relationship.”
Federer and dad-to-be Djokovic have other tennis-playing fathers on the tour for company.
Australian Open champion and world number three Stan Wawrinka became a father four years ago when his wife Ilham Vuilloud gave birth to a daughter, Alexia.
Former world number one Lleyton Hewitt has three children with wife, Bec.
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