Novak Djokovic ‘sends message’ as he praises ‘big three’ rival
Novak Djokovic is into his 44th Grand Slam semi-final, after easing past Andrey Rublev in straight sets, 6-1 6-2 6-4. By doing so Djokovic has equalled Andre Agassi’s 26-match winning streak, and extends his record in Australia to 39 consecutive wins.
Despite dropping only seven games, the least in a completed quarter-final for the Serb, Djokovic thought the match was closer than it suggested, “Overall, I think that the scoreline in the first two sets doesn’t speak the truth of the reality of the match.”
The nine-time Australian Open champion ranked his win over Rublev as his second best match in 2023, closely behind beating Alex de Minaur win in the fourth round, and believed he sent a warning to the rest of the field, “This is the kind of message you want to send to your opponents.”
After the match Djokovic spoke to Jim Courier on court, and reminisced over his first Grand Slam semi-final at the US Open in 2007.
“It seems quite a long time ago, actually, now. I was fortunate to win that semi-final, but in the final, I lost to Roger [Federer],” said Djokovic.
The 21-time Grand Slam champion proceeded to encourage the crowd to applaud the tennis great, and then followed it up by lauding the Swiss with compliments.
"Let's give Roger a big round of applause. Tennis misses him."
Novak Djokovic gets the Australian Open crowd to give Roger Federer a round of applause after his victory 👏❤️ pic.twitter.com/ImuiRsEIoJ
— Eurosport (@eurosport) January 25, 2023
“He deserves it! I had some great battles over the years with Roger, that is for sure. Tennis misses him, for sure. I have seen him dressing up very sharply for [Paris] Fashion week the other day!”
He continued, “I have seen him skiing. I want to challenge him for a little skiing race in a few years’ time. But, yeah, he is enjoying life, for sure, it is nice to see that.”
“Obviously for tennis, he has been one of the most important players ever to play the game. So, big regards to his family.”
Novak Djokovic and Federer played each other on 50 occasions, but on Friday the Serb will play someone for the first time in Tommy Paul. The American, who is in his first Grand Slam semi-final, will have his work cut out for him, as Djokovic has always gone on to win the title when reaching the last four at the Australian Open.
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