LONDON -- Bad blood between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer? Not according to the world No.1.
Djokovic has accused the media of trying to manufacture tension in his relationship with Federer, after the Swiss beat him in straight sets at the World Tour Finals on Tuesday.
Federer appeared to be irked by Djokovic's post-match comments then that he "handed him the win", and responded by saying "I'd like to give myself credit for that, quite honestly".
"Me, I said that?" Djokovic asked, astonished, when the quote was put to him after his win over Tomas Berdych on Thursday. "No."
He added: "We can look at the transcript, go back. I'm 100 percent sure I didn't say that and I didn't say anything that can be taken out of the context, anything similar to that.
"Whoever created that story, I don't know what to say. It's not fair. There is no need to create any kind of bad blood between Roger and me because I said what I needed to say, that he deserved to win that match, he was a better player.
"I said that I was disappointed with my level, but that has nothing to do with me handing the victory. This is ridiculous."
Despite the overall amiable relationship between Djokovic and Federer, the Serb's coach Boris Becker wrote in his autobiography that the two men "don't particularly like each other".
"I try to avoid the media as much as I can during the tournament because there is no reason for me to get in this midst of speculations that can cause some distraction to my concentration, which is very much valuable and needed," added Djokovic.
"I know that every drop of energy and focus needs to be there. I do watch matches, but I don't read papers, so forth, especially during the tournament."
Federer and Djokovic could meet again in the championship match if both win their semifinals on Saturday. The world No.1 faces Rafael Nadal, while Federer will take on either Andy Murray or Stan Wawrinka.
Djokovic has beaten Federer in four of six finals between them this season, including at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.