Few sports match tennis, where great rivals can have so much respect for one another.
Few can be more impressive than long-time rivals Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, who share more than 60 Grand Slam titles between them.
Federer may have retired last year, and while Djokovic and Nadal are also nearing the end of their careers, they still hover at the top of the world rankings and remain title contenders wherever they play.
– #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 25, 2023
Such was the case on Wednesday, when after Djokovic routed fifth seed Andrey Rublev in just over two hours, Djokovic once again praised Federer, saying he “misses tennis”.
Djokovic was in top form despite the risk of a muscle injury and demolished the Russian 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 – his 26th consecutive win in the nine-match event.
To book a place in the last four, the 21-time Grand Slam winner hit 32 winners and 14 aces in one-sided play.
No wonder Djokovic was all smiles in his post-match interview with former number one Jim Courier at Rod Laver Arena and recalled his first semi-final at a tennis major and his epic loss to the Swiss.
“I think it was [the] US Open back in 2007,” Djokovic said after the match.
“It seems like a long time ago, actually. I was lucky to win that semi-final, but I lost to Roger in the final [Federer]He said.
The crowd gave Djokovic a standing ovation and instead of continuing with his return, the Serbian Supersport paid tribute to his former rival.
“Let’s give Roger’s guys a big round of applause,” Djokovic continued.
“He deserves it! I had some good battles with Roger over the years, that’s for sure. He misses tennis, for sure.
“I saw him dressed very well [Paris] Another day of fashion week!
“I saw skiing going down. I’d like to challenge him to a small ski competition in a few years. But, yes, he is enjoying life, for sure, it’s good to see that.
“To tennis, obviously, he’s one of the most important players to ever play the game. So a huge salute to his family.”
Djokovic will face Tommy Paul, who beat fellow American Ben Shelton 7-6 (6) 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 in Wednesday’s other quarter-final.
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