Novak Djokovic has delighted fans at the Australian Open after paying tribute to Roger Federer following his quarter-final victory over Andrey Rublev. Djokovic dispatched the Russian World No.6 to the tune of a 6-1 6-2 6-4 thrashing on Wednesday night.
Talk during Djokovic's on-court interview then turned to the first grand slam final ever played. Djokovic recalled that it came at the US Open in 2007 when he lost to Roger Federer.
'DEPORT HIM AGAIN': Novak Djokovic under fire at Australian Open
As soon as Djokovic mentioned Federer's name, fans at Rod Laver Arena let out a huge cheer in celebration of the retired Swiss champion. Djokovic then paid a classy tribute to his long-time rival in touching scenes.
“Lets give a big round of applause to Roger guys, let's go," he said. “He deserves it. I had some great battles with Roger over the years that’s for sure.
“Tennis misses him for sure. I’ve seen him dressing up very sharply for fashion week, I saw him the other day (on social media).”
Courier asked Djokovic if he'd seen a social media video of Federer skiing with his family. The Serbian star replied: “Yeah, I‘ve seen him skiing. I want to challenge him to a little skiing race in few years time.
“But yeah, he‘s enjoying life for sure. It’s nice to see that. Obviously for tennis, he’s been one of the most important players ever to play the game. So, big regards to him and his family.”
Federer announced his retirement from tennis last year and played his final match at the Laver Cup in September. Djokovic was part of Federer's Team Europe as they went down to Team World.
This week Federer made an appearance at Paris Fashion Week alongside wife Mirka, who wore an outfit with a goat emblazoned on the front. In the sporting world the GOAT is the 'greatest of all time', and Mirka clearly thinks is her husband is exactly that.
Djokovic's words about Federer sparked a frenzy amongst fans, with many gushing over the lovely moment on social media.
Novak Djokovic into Australian Open semi-final
Djokovic's victory on Wednesday night sealed his place in a 44th career grand slam semi-final and a 10th at the Australian Open. Ominously for his rivals, Djokovic has never lost at the Australian Open after making it to the final four.
"Last two matches, playing against two guys that are really good players, in-form players, to beat them dominantly in three sets is something that is definitely something that I want in this moment, something that sends a message to all my opponents remaining in the draw," he later told reporters. "With this kind of match, of course the confidence level rises, considering the circumstances.
"I feel good on the court, better and better as the tournament progresses. I've been in this situation in so many times in my life, in my career, never lost a semi-finals in Australian Open. Hopefully that will stay the same."
Djokovic's last two matches have helped to ease fears over a hamstring injury he first suffered at the Adelaide International before the Australian Open. He has made light work of Alex de Minaur and Rublev in back-to-back thrashings.
"To be honest, I've been connected to machines more than I have been connected to anybody else or my bed or anything else really in the days off," Djokovic said. "I've tried about any bio-feedback machine there is in this planet in order to get my leg ready and it worked. I'm going to keep going.
"I miss tennis in the days off but at the same time I think it's important to be smart and wise with the body in these particular circumstances where it's more important to recover and get ready for the next challenge."
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.