Novak Djokovic gave a huge shout out to Roger Federer as he cruised through his quarterfinal encounter at the 2023 Australian Open. The Serb, who is the fourth seed in the tournament, claimed a straight-sets victory over fifth seed Andrey Rublev, beating him 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 to book a spot in his 44th Grand Slam semifinal and his tenth at the tournament Down Under.
During the on-court interview after the win, former World No. 1 Jim Courier, who was taking the interview, asked Novak Djokovic if he remembered his first semifinal at a Grand Slam. While the 35-year-old’s first two Major semifinals were losses to Rafael Nadal at the 2007 French Open and Wimbledon, the Serb wrongly guessed his first semifinal to be the US Open that year.
The 21-time Grand Slam champion proceeded to assert that his first semifinal was a victory (against David Ferrer) and that he fell short against Roger Federer in the final (of the 2007 US Open).
"I think it was the US Open back in 2007. It seems quite a long time ago. But yeah. I was fortunate to win that semifinals. You know, in the finals, I lost to Roger," he said.
On that note, however, Novak Djokovic spared a few minutes to appreciate Roger Federer’s contribution to the sport, giving him a deserved round of applause and conveying that tennis misses the 20-time Grand Slam champion.
He further acknowledged his great rivalry with Roger Federer, who he has faced 50 times in his career, winning 27 of those clashes.
"Ya. Let’s give a big round of applause to Roger, guys! Let’s go. He deserves it," Novak Djokovic said, "I had some great battles over the years with Roger, that’s for sure, you know. Tennis misses him for sure."
"I want to challenge him for a little skiing race in few years time" – Novak Djokovic jokes about his plans with Roger Federer
Novak Djokovic undoubtedly has a lot of tennis still left in him, having set up a clash against American Tommy Paul in the semifinals of the 2023 Australian Open.
Roger Federer, meanwhile, retired from tennis in September 2022, and is currently having the time of his life pursuing various hobbies. The Swiss legend was recently seen skiing, which Novak Djokovic took note of.
During his on-court interview, the Serb jokingly suggested that he was ready to challenge Roger Federer at skiing a few years down the line -- once he hangs up the racquet, of course.
"I’ve seen him skiing. I want to challenge him for a little skiing race in few years time," the 35-year-old said.
The World No. 5 also admired the 41-year-old's dapper looks at the on-going Paris Fashion Week and gave regards to him and his family for their new beginnings.
"I’ve seen him dressing up very sharply for fashion week. I’ve seen him the other day," the former World No. 1 said, "He is enjoying life for sure. It’s nice to see that. Obviously, for tennis, he has been one of the most important players ever to play the game. So, you know, big regards to him and his family."
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