Novak Djokovic's pointed dig at Australian Open semi-finalists

Andrew Reid
·4-min read
Novak Djokovic is seen here speaking after his Aus Open semi-final.
Novak Djokovic reminded reporters about the bad blood between Friday night's Aus Open semi-finalists. Pic: Getty

Russian fourth seed Daniil Medvedev and Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas go head-to-head on Friday night at Melbourne Park for the chance to try and stop Novak Djokovic winning a record-extending ninth Australian Open title.

Djokovic has never lost an Australian Open match when he's made it as far as the last four, and so the Serb's impressive record continued on Thursday night with a routine 6-3 6-4 6-2 win over Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev on Rod Laver Arena.

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The 17-time grand slam champion remained diplomatic after the match when asked whether he would rather face Medvedev or Tsitsipas in Sunday night's final.

However, the 33-year-old was happy to dig up some old dirt between the semi-final combatants, who have a strained history between one another to say the least.

While the compliments have flown between the pair before the latest match-up, their rivalry did start with some foul-mouthed tirades.

At the Miami Masters in 2018, the clash ended with Medvedev accusing Tsitsipas of calling him a "bull**** Russian" and telling the Greek he better "shut your f*** up".

There have been the odd pot shots in between time and Tsitsipas didn't exactly talk down their feud when he logged his first win over Medvedev at the ATP finals.

"It means more than extra," he said of getting the result. "It's a victory that I craved for a long time now."

Djokovic, perhaps relishing the opportunity to watch some fireworks on Friday night, was happy to remind reporters about their history after his own semi-final.

"I know that these two guys have a history between them on and off the court a little bit - so I'm sure there's going to be a lot of intensity," said Djokovic after qualifying for the final on Thursday with a straight-sets win over Russian Aslan Karatsev.

"It's a great rivalry these guys have. I'm going to watch it and enjoy it."

Medvedev goes in as the clear favourite against Tstsipas, riding a 19-game winning streak and having won five of their six head-to-head matches.

The Greek did, however, win their last clash in 2019 and has pinched a set off the Russian in four of the other five encounters.

If that suggests he'll be no pushover, so did the searing quality of his comeback victory against Rafael Nadal.

The Greek superstar famously came from two sets to love down against Nadal to complete one of the greatest comebacks of the Australian Open era.

Pictured here, Aus Open semi-final combatants Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas have had a fiery rivalry with one another in the past. Pic: Getty

Aus Open King awaits in final 

Whoever does come out on top in Friday night's second semi-final has one of the most daunting tasks in tennis - trying to do what no other man in history has done and beat Djokovic in an Australian Open final.

To make matters even more difficult for his rivals is the fact that the World No.1 appears to have a clean bill of health after overcoming a mysterious abdominal injury that troubled him earlier in the tournament.

"This is the best I felt in the entire tournament," he said after defeating Karatsev on Thursday night.

"I felt great. This is the best match so far and it came at the right time.

“I could swing through the ball. No pain. The best match so far.

“Couldn’t be better timing for me to play my best tennis.”

Seen here, Novak Djokovic shout in delight during his Australian Open final semi-final.
Novak Djokovic sealed a spot in his ninth Australian Open final on Thursday night. Pic: Getty

Last week Djokovic made the shock admission that he was unlikely to play his fourth-round clash with Milos Raonic, claiming he'd suffered a muscle tear.

But his performances ever since have left fans questioning the extent of the injury.

The World No.1 even said the injury has improved to a degree that he will recommence training on Saturday.

“I am surprised the way I felt tonight. I think it surpassed my greatest wishes,” he said.

“I just have … this pretty good ability to recover fast.

"The way I felt today I like my chances and I'm definitely going to go for a title."

with AAP

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