World No1 Novak Djokovic has defending under-performing Swiss maestro Roger Federer and has urged critics to 'cut him some slack'.
According to Sport24, Federer suffered a shock US Open fourth round straight-sets upset at the hands of Spanish 19th seed Tommy Robredo on Monday.
The report said that it is the first time since 2002 that the 17-time major winner has not made a Grand Slam final, which has given rise to speculation over his future in the sport with the loss to Robredo coming on the heels of a second-round exit at Wimbledon.
However, the Serbian ace defended Federer, saying that critics need to give him a break as he believes that it is normal to expect that Federer is not moving as well as he did when he was No 1 and dominant, adding that he still feels that Federer is playing well and deserves to be one of the top five players in the world.
Djokovic also said that he would not be advising Federer on what his future plans should be despite slipping to seventh rank in the world, his lowest ranking for over a decade.
Defending champion Andy Murray said that he was surprised to see Robredo beat Federer for the first time in 11 meetings, although he believes that a series of wins could restore the Swiss' place among the elite.
According to Murray, a lot of players go through periods when they are not playing their best tennis, which he added, has been the case with Federer starting around Wimbledon.