Roger Federer has pledged to donate one million Swiss francs to help the most vulnerable families in his homeland during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 20-time grand slam champion said the donation he and his wife Mirka made is "just a start" and urged others to help those most in need during the COVID-19 crisis.

Switzerland has 10,456 confirmed cases of the virus, with 145 people having died.

In a typically classy post, Federer wrote on Instagram post: "These are challenging times for everyone and nobody should be left behind. 

"Mirka and I have personally decided to donate one million Swiss Francs for the most vulnerable families in Switzerland. 

"Our contribution is just a start. We hope that others might join in supporting more families in need. Together we can overcome this crisis! Stay healthy!"

The ATP Tour has cancelled all tennis through to June 7, wiping out the clay-court season.

It had been on the cards for some time, but Tuesday's announcement confirming the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics still hit hard.

With the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe, it appeared the International Olympic Committee had hoped the Games would somehow still go ahead.

However, within 48 hours of declaring a four-week window in which to make a final decision, the declaration came – the 2020 Olympics would be delayed by a year.

In an instant, dreams were put on hold, and some perhaps altogether dashed. Competitors with their hearts set on taking part in Japan later this year suddenly had to revise their plans entirely.

For some, it may prove to be a very manageable inconvenience, but what about those who had marked this down as their final Games?

Here we take a look at the stars who were planning to wave farewell to the Olympic stage in Tokyo, and whether the intervention of COVID-19 might have deprived them of that opportunity.

SIMONE BILES (GYMNASTICS)

This was set to be Biles' final outing at the greatest show on earth, having cleaned up with four gold medals in Rio four years ago.

Though only 23, gymnastics is a sport where time very quickly catches up with its stars and Biles would have been a relative veteran of the field.

A delay of one year does not necessarily rule Biles out, but it will give the American – who topped the podium five times at the 2019 World Championships – plenty to ponder.

ALLYSON FELIX (ATHLETICS)

With six golds and three silvers in a decorated Olympic career, Felix will have been hoping to return for a fifth time.

Having debuted on the biggest stage back in 2004, Felix has gone on to cement her position as a track legend.

Felix turns 35 this year and had spoken of her desire to sign off with a bang, telling NBC Sports of her plans to run both the 100 and 200 metres.

"Everything's on the table this year," she said. "This year, I'm going to be getting back to sprinting. I think that's really key for me to be myself, and that's something that I didn't even get to touch last year."

ROGER FEDERER (TENNIS)

The Swiss maestro is the most prolific collector of grand slam titles in the history of men's tennis, but one honour has eluded him.

While Federer does possess an Olympic gold, it came when he shared the top step of the podium with doubles partner Stan Wawrinka in Beijing.

Glory in the singles event has proven beyond the 38-year-old, who lost the 2012 London final to home favourite Andy Murray.

Having missed the last Games with a knee injury, Federer will sorely hope that defeat to Murray at Wimbledon's All England Club will not prove to have been an unwitting Olympics farewell.

KERRI WALSH JENNINGS (BEACH VOLLEYBALL)

With a medal haul that makes her the most successful beach volleyball player in history, Jennings had Japan locked in as her sixth Games.

However, she turns 42 in August and having the event pushed back by a year may diminish her chances of taking part.

Time will tell if the American can add to her three gold medals and one bronze.

YOHAN BLAKE (ATHLETICS)

His career having largely overlapped with superstar compatriot Usain Bolt, Blake's quest for gold was always going to prove tough.

Indeed, the two in his collection came after winning the 4x100m in a team including the peerless Bolt.

However, even with the world-record holder now gone from the scene, Blake would have been well down the pecking order in Japan.

Whether he returns in 2021 or not, his double-silver exploits in the 100m and 200m at London 2012 are not to be sniffed at.

ALISTAIR BROWNLEE (TRIATHLON)

Briton Brownlee sealed gold on home soil in 2012 and defended his crown in Rio.

His brother Jonathan took third and second respectively and both were expected to line up in Tokyo.

At 31, Alistair is the senior sibling by two years and had mulled the decision for a long while, meaning the 12-month delay could prove decisive.

Roger Federer will miss the French Open after undergoing knee surgery on Wednesday, the 20-time grand slam champion has confirmed.

The 20-time grand slam champion was due to play in his second tournament of the year at the Dubai Tennis Championships next week after losing to Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of the Australian Open last month.

Federer, 38, revealed on Thursday that he has been troubled by an issue with his right knee and underwent an arthroscopic operation in his native Switzerland, which should enable him to make a full recovery.

The world number three will sit out the second major of the year at Roland Garros in May, but expects to be back for the grass-court season.

Federer posted on Twitter: "My right knee has been bothering me for a little while.

"I hoped it would go away, but after an examination, and discussion with my team, I decided to have arthroscopic surgery in Switzerland yesterday.

"After the procedure, the doctors confirmed that it was the right thing to have done and are very confident of a full recovery.

"As a result, I will unfortunately have to miss Dubai, Indian Wells, Bogota, Miami and the French Open. I am grateful for everyone's support.

"I can't wait to be back playing again soon, see you on the grass!"

Novak Djokovic says winning trophies is not his main motivation as he sets out to have a career-best season in 2020.

Djokovic got the year off to a flying start, defeating Dominic Thiem to retain his Australian Open title and reclaiming the world number one spot from Rafael Nadal in the process.

The 17-time grand slam champion has now outlined his intention to have the best season of his career in 2020, as he aims to go all the way to gold at the Tokyo Olympics.

However, Djokovic insisted it is his love of tennis that inspires him, rather than the pursuit of trophies.

"For me, while everyone talks about trophies, that creates a lot of tension," Djokovic said at a news conference in Belgrade.

"I have my goals of course, trophies can make me proud and happy in the moment, but they can't fulfil me in life.

"My main inspiration is the joy I feel while I am holding a racquet. If that wasn't the case, I wouldn't be here. If I don't nurture that initial love then I can't be fulfilled. 

"I am motivated and inspired to have my best season this year. It is an Olympic year, which means that the schedule will be busy, not just for me, but for all the top players.

"There will be little room for rest after Wimbledon. I had the honour of winning a bronze medal in 2008 and somehow feel that maybe the time has come for another medal, I hope. I will do everything in my power to reach the peak at the Olympics."

Despite his success, Djokovic has never been able to capture the adoration of tennis crowds in the same way that Rodger Federer and Nadal have, yet the 32-year-old does not believe he is disliked.

"A lot has been written about how I am not loved. I don't like to talk about myself, but my personal impression is that I have a lot of support and sympathy for me," he said.

"When I play Federer or Nadal, the crowd supports them but that doesn't mean I am hated and that I should turn the whole of the Serbian public against the world.

"Even if people don't love me everywhere, why would I want to add fuel to the fire? I don't want to put too much attention on it, I don't want to deal with or think about negative emotions, hatred or anger. Sometimes I get distracted, I have outbursts.

"I admit that and I am not proud of it but I am a human being that makes mistakes and I try to become better every day.

"If I invest my energy in these stories that I am not loved, that story will keep growing and why would I want that?"

Thomas Tuchel feels Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League struggles have been exaggerated to a similar extent to Roger Federer's perceived dominance in tennis.

Ever since Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) became PSG's owners in 2011, the club have been obsessed with Champions League success, spending vast amounts of money in their quest to become Europe's greatest team.

But in that time, the furthest they have gone in Europe's elite competition is the quarter-finals, suffering gutting collapses against Barcelona and Manchester United along the way.

However, with Kylian Mbappe, Mauro Icardi and Neymar impressing this season, there is a belief PSG have a front three capable of setting the standard in Europe.

Borussia Dortmund await PSG in the last 16 of this season's Champions League - with the first leg set for February 18 - and Tuchel is remaining relaxed despite the external pressure, highlighting that, although Federer has won more grand slams than anyone else, he does not win them all.

"If I tell you not to think about a pink elephant, you will think about it," Tuchel told reporters ahead of Wednesday's Coupe de France clash with Dijon.

"You have to accept the context. I said after [being eliminated by] Manchester United, 'guys, we will try again next year'.

"The group stage, the last 16, that's how it is. It's the same for tennis. Everyone thinks that Roger Federer has always won, but it's not like that.

"We are confident, we have improved. We have a good group. I am grateful for this chance. The first game was never a problem, everyone will talk about the second game. It is sport and it must remain sport.

"We can also say that it is our fault, with the matches against Barcelona and Man United. We lost these matches there and we cannot wait for everyone to be super positive.

"For me, that does not change. We are here every day with the team, we are very happy to be in the last 16. It's a dream for everyone to play in the Champions League with a club like PSG.

"We always remain positive, you can only influence the context by giving everything you have. It's up to us, we don't let ourselves be influenced from the outside.

"The context doesn't make things easier, but it's sport, that's how it is. Try, try again and never give up."

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal smashed the world record for attendance at a tennis match as the superstars went head-to-head in the Match in Africa.

A record-breaking 51,954 fans watched the charity exhibition at the Cape Town Stadium on Friday – 20-time grand slam champion Federer beating Nadal 6-4 3-6 6-3.

Federer and Alexander Zverev had previously set the record when they attracted 42,217 spectators for their exhibition in Mexico in November.

Organised by Federer's foundation, the Swiss sensation teamed up with Microsoft owner Bill Gates to face Nadal and South African-born Daily Show host Trevor Noah for a doubles encounter.

Federer and Gates were too good for Nadal and Noah, winning 6-3 to open proceedings in South Africa.

Rugby World Cup winner and South Africa star Siya Kolisi presented Federer with a Springboks jersey before the showpiece event on Friday.

Federer then outlasted Nadal – who is one title adrift of his enduring rival's all-time slam record – in the sixth edition of the Match in Africa.

Both players travelled to South Africa after their Australian Open campaigns did not go according to plan, Federer beaten by eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals, while top seed Nadal was upstaged by runner-up Dominic Thiem in the quarters.

Roger Federer said only Rafael Nadal could make Sunday's exhibition "truly special" for those in attendance in Cape Town.

Swiss great Federer will face off against his most famous rival in the sixth edition of the Match for Africa series, organised by the 20-time grand slam winner's foundation.

Federer will team up with Microsoft owner Bill Gates to face Nadal and Daily Show host Trevor Noah, who was born in South Africa, for a doubles encounter before the two tennis greats meet in a singles match.

When planning to host the event in Cape Town, Federer only had one opponent in mind and said he had been trying to enlist Nadal's help for some time.

"I have been thinking about this idea for a few years now and I always ask myself the question: where, with whom, how big, how small should it be?" Federer told a news conference.

"The initial idea was let's just get one done so at least I did play here and the people got to see me, my family that I still have here got to see me.

"As the idea grew and it ended up let's try to go big and we went bigger and bigger. For me at one point when I realised something very special could happen, for me it was only Rafa who could make this event truly special for the people here. 

"I have the connection to Rafa and if somebody could maybe bring him down to South Africa it is me. I asked him and he said yes right away.

"We have been fighting over a date for the last two years so I finally got one out of him. He wanted to do it earlier. We were both ready, but there was just too much going on with our schedules.

"I couldn't be more excited to see Rafa arriving tomorrow morning."

Novak Djokovic is aiming to win a fifth grand slam in seven at the Australian Open on Sunday.

The Serbian faces Dominic Thiem in the final in Melbourne looking to extend his record to eight titles in the tournament and repeat his 2019 triumph.

It is continuing another dominant period for the 16-time grand slam champion, a spell which began at Wimbledon in 2018.

But how does his recent run of success compare to his previous triumphs, as well as those enjoyed by his 'Big Three' rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal?

Federer – 8 in 10, 2005-07

The Swiss great was almost unstoppable for a period beginning at Wimbledon in 2005. From 2003 at the All England Club to the 2010 Australian Open, Federer incredibly won 16 of 27 grand slams, with a couple of separate utterly stunning runs. From Wimbledon 2005 to the 2007 US Open, Federer won eight of the 10 majors and was beaten in the finals of the other two. Only Nadal at the French Open (2006 and 2007) could deny Federer, who enjoyed wins over Andy Roddick (twice), Andre Agassi, Marcos Baghdatis, Nadal (twice), Fernando Gonzalez and Djokovic in deciders during that period. Starting at Wimbledon 2004, Federer also won 10 of 14 majors, but he has just four grand slams since 2011.

Djokovic – 6 in 8, 2014-16

The Serbian star began to make the most of his opportunities, starting from midway through 2014. Heading into that tournament, Djokovic had made 13 grand slam finals but won just six. However, since the Wimbledon final six years ago, he has won 10 major deciders and lost just two. A thrilling five-set final against Federer started the run before he reclaimed his Australian Open title. Stan Wawrinka upset him in the decider in Paris before the beginning of the 'Nole Slam', Djokovic winning four straight majors to hold every grand slam trophy simultaneously. A shock third-round exit to Sam Querrey at Wimbledon in 2016 ended a 30-match winning run at majors for Djokovic, who would have to wait until 2018 for his next grand slam title.

Nadal – 4 in 5, 2010-11

In an extraordinary career, Nadal has won just one Australian Open and two Wimbledon titles, impacting his runs. The Spaniard's best year in terms of major titles was 2010, when he claimed three before adding another at Roland Garros in 2011. Stunned by Robin Soderling in his first French Open loss in 2009, Nadal brushed the Swede aside in the final the following year, kick-starting a run of three straight major wins. Tomas Berdych and Djokovic were beaten in the Wimbledon and US Open deciders respectively, but his bid to hold all four at once was ended in the quarter-finals in Melbourne, where he suffered a hamstring injury and fell to David Ferrer. But, back in Paris, Nadal won a sixth French Open crown.

Novak Djokovic is satisfied with his form heading into a record eighth Australian Open men's singles final after brushing past Roger Federer.

The Serbian 16-time grand slam champion recovered from a slow start to beat Federer 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 6-3 in their semi-final on Thursday.

Djokovic dropped a set in the opening round but has cruised through since, including beating a hurting Federer in their 50th meeting.

The seven-time champion in Melbourne has already won 12 singles matches this year and is happy with where his game is at ahead of facing either Dominic Thiem or Alexander Zverev in the final on Sunday.

"Yes, I'm pleased with the way I've been feeling and playing," Djokovic told a news conference.

"I thought the ATP Cup went really well for me, I got a lot of hours spent on the court, singles and doubles. It was a great lead-up for the Australian Open.

"Obviously I got a lot of positive energy from that competition. I've dropped only one set so far up to the finals. I have two days of no match right now, which actually is really good. It gives me more time to recuperate and gather all the necessary energy for the finals."

While he savoured Serbia's ATP Cup triumph and has dominated in Melbourne, Djokovic will face a first-time Australian Open finalist in either Thiem or Zverev.

By reaching the final for an eighth time, Djokovic now holds the outright record for the most visits to the title match in the Open era, having previously been tied with Federer on seven appearances.

He holds positive head-to-head records against both Thiem (6-4) and Zverev (3-2), but is wary of the duo.

"Well, Dominic won our last match when we played against each other, a close one in London [at the ATP Finals in November]. He played a terrific match against Rafa [Nadal] last night. I watched that," Djokovic said.

"[He is] definitely one of the best players in the world. Deserves to be where he is. It seems like he's improved his game a lot on hard-courts, because his game is more suitable to the slower surfaces, the clay of course being his favourite surface.

"But winning Indian Wells I think last year, beating Roger in the finals, that probably gave him a lot of confidence that he can win big tournaments on other surfaces, as well.

"Alex didn't start the year very well. I watched his matches. I practised with him in Brisbane during ATP Cup. He wasn't feeling his best on the court, not much confidence.

"It's impressive with the way he has been playing so far in this tournament, building his game, raising the level of tennis that he's been playing. It's his first semi-final at a grand slam in his career, so I'm sure that he is motivated, he's pumped to get at least a step further. It's going to be really a good match to watch."

Roger Federer felt he had just a "three per cent chance" of winning going into his Australian Open semi-final against Novak Djokovic after battling injury.

The Swiss great made a strong start before falling to a 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 6-3 loss to Djokovic, who reached a record eighth final in Melbourne on Thursday.

Federer battled a groin injury during an incredible quarter-final win over Tennys Sandgren and took a medical timeout after the first set of his loss to Djokovic.

The 20-time grand slam champion admitted he felt his chances of victory over Djokovic, who has won 27 of their 50 meetings, were slim.

"Look, overall, at the end of the day I guess I'm very happy. I've got to be happy with what I achieved," Federer told a news conference.

"It was the maximum to go to get at this tournament, especially after the [John] Millman and the Sandgren match.

"Today was horrible, to go through what I did. Nice entrance, nice send off, and in between is one to forget because you know you have a three per cent chance to win. You know, got to go for it. You never know.

"But once you can see it coming, that it's not going to work anymore, it's tough. No, look, at the end of the day I'm very happy.

"I think I overall played all right. I know I can play better. At the same time, I also know I can play much worse. With no tournaments beforehand, I think it's a very, very good result."

Federer was optimistic over the injury, saying he wanted to play in a scheduled exhibition match against Rafael Nadal in South Africa on February 7.

A six-time champion in Melbourne, Federer, 38, was unsurprisingly unwilling to guarantee he would be back at the Australian Open, but he was hopeful.

"No idea. Same as last year. You never know what the future holds," he said.

"But especially my age, you don't know. I'm confident. I'm happy how I'm feeling, to be honest. I got through a good, nice training block. No plans to retire.

"From that standpoint, we'll see how the year goes, how everything is with the family. We'll go from there. Of course, I hope to be back."

Novak Djokovic paid tribute to Roger Federer for playing while "obviously hurt" in their Australian Open semi-final on Thursday.

Djokovic reached an outright record eighth Australian Open men's singles final with a 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 6-3 victory over Federer in their 50th meeting.

The Serbian star recovered from 1-4 0-40 down in the first set on his way to improving his head-to-head record over Federer to 27-23.

Federer took a medical timeout at the end of the first set, having dealt with a groin injury during his incredible quarter-final win over Tennys Sandgren on Tuesday.

And Djokovic praised his rival for playing through the pain, saying in an on-court interview: "Full respect to Roger for coming out tonight, he was obviously hurt.

"He obviously was hurt and wasn't at his best, even close to his best in terms of movement, respect for coming out and trying his best all the way through."

Djokovic, who started slowly before finding his rhythm, said Federer's injury woes impacted the way he opened the encounter.

"It was probably not exactly the right mindset from my side at the beginning of the match," the 16-time grand slam champion said.

"I was kind of looking more on how he's moving and what he's doing rather than executing my shots in the right way and it resulted with a 1-4 down and 0-40 lead for him.

"I managed to kind of dig my way through, back in the first set and it was very important to win that first set obviously mentally relaxed a little bit after that and could swing through the ball a bit more."

Djokovic will face either Dominic Thiem or Alexander Zverev in his 26th major final.

Novak Djokovic moved into an outright record eighth Australian Open men's singles final with another win over long-time rival Roger Federer on Thursday.

Djokovic recovered from a first-set deficit before recording a 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 6-3 semi-final victory over Federer in hot conditions on Rod Laver Arena in a match lasting two hours and 18 minutes.

A record seven-time champion in Melbourne, the Serbian star proved too good for Federer, 38, in the 50th meeting between the all-time greats, with 27 having now been won by Djokovic.

But it only came after Federer coughed up a 4-1 lead in a first set he should have won, the 20-time grand slam winner – who took a medical timeout after the opener – letting a huge chance slip.

Djokovic, who started slowly, would punish him to move within a win of a 17th major title and eighth in Melbourne, where he has never lost a semi or final, with Dominic Thiem or Alexander Zverev awaiting.

After saving two break points in the opening game, Federer – who looked sprightly after his groin worry in the incredible quarter-final against Tennys Sandgren – broke for a 2-0 lead with a wonderful backhand pass down the line.

An uncharacteristically sloppy Djokovic would break in the next game before giving up serve once more, sending a backhand wide on break point.

Djokovic dug out of a 0-40 hole when trailing 4-1 and from 0-30 down in the eighth game, those holds proving crucial when he broke to love after a poor ninth game from Federer, who produced four bad errors.

Suddenly, a set Federer looked in complete control of slipped out of his grasp, the 63-minute opener settled after the improving Djokovic played a superb tie-break.

After an off-court medical timeout at the end of the first set, Federer had the greater difficulties on serve throughout the second before Djokovic landed the break at the perfect time.

As "Nole! Nole! Nole!' chants rang out among a crowd largely backing Federer, Djokovic broke serve and took the second set with a cross-court winner following a drop shot from his opponent.


Federer tried to hang in there to begin the third but, in truth, he was causing Djokovic few problems.

Djokovic closed in on victory with a forehand winner for a break and 4-2 lead, a tough hold in the following game helping him past Federer for the fifth time in their past six meetings.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN  
Djokovic [2] bt Federer [3] 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 6-3

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS   
Djokovic – 31/18
Federer – 46/35

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS   
Djokovic – 11/1
Federer – 15/3

BREAK POINTS WON   
Djokovic – 4/11
Federer – 2/7

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE   
Djokovic – 73
Federer – 65

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE   
Djokovic – 73/54
Federer – 66/42

TOTAL POINTS   
Djokovic – 113
Federer – 93

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic will meet for a 50th time in what is a storied rivalry that has repeatedly produced classic matches.

Djokovic leads their head-to-head 26-23 and that stands at 10-6 when the all-time greats have met at grand slams.

It is also 3-1 at the Australian Open and the Serbian, whose 16 grand slam titles are four shy of Federer's 20, will head into Thursday's semi-final in Melbourne as favourite.

Ahead of their meeting, we look at five of the classics they have delivered.

2010 US Open semi-final: Djokovic [3] bt Federer [2] 5-7 6-1 5-7 6-2 7-5

Flushing Meadows was Federer's playground for five straight years until 2009, when he was stunned by Juan Martin del Potro in the final. To this point, he had dominated Djokovic, too. But the Serbian managed to save two match points in a thrilling five-setter to win in almost four hours in a victory that would – even with Federer only 29 years of age – bring suggestions the Swiss maestro was on the decline.

2011 French Open semi-final: Federer [3] bt Djokovic [2] 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 3-6 7-6 (7-5)

By the time they met at Roland Garros the following year, Djokovic was a heavy favourite after incredibly winning his first 41 matches of 2011, including a second major title at the Australian Open. But Federer would end that run, wagging his finger after his stunning four-set victory. The year would still belong to Djokovic, and not before more drama against Federer.

2011 US Open semi-final: Djokovic [1] bt Federer [3] 6-7 (7-9) 4-6 6-3 6-2 7-5

Having recovered from two sets down to force a decider, Djokovic reeled off the final four games and saved two match points to shock Federer, and the way he saved the first lives long in the memory. Djokovic crushed a forehand cross-court return winner that John McEnroe would describe as "one of the all-time great shots", one which even Federer struggled to accept. Djokovic would go on to win his third major of 2011.

2014 Wimbledon final: Djokovic [1] bt Federer [4] 6-7 (7-9) 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 5-7 6-4

Djokovic. Federer. All England Club. Wimbledon final. They are words sports fans dream of. Federer was in his first major decider since 2012, while Djokovic had lost his previous three grand slam finals – one to Andy Murray and two to Rafael Nadal. Federer would produce the comeback this time, coming from 5-2 down and saving a match point in the fourth to force a decider. But just as Federer looked the more likely winner, Djokovic stepped up to win a seventh major crown. The pair combined for 143 winners and just 56 unforced errors in a match Djokovic labelled the "best quality grand slam final" he had played in.

2019 Wimbledon final: Djokovic [1] bt Federer [2] 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 13-12 (7-3)

Fast forward five years and they met again, and they delivered once more on the biggest stage. Federer would be left to rue missed chances after a battle lasting four hours, 57 minutes – the longest singles final in Wimbledon history. Djokovic saved two match points at 8-7 in the fifth set before a match tie-break followed, the first in singles in the tournament's history. Djokovic would go on to win a 16th grand slam title, moving a little closer to Federer's all-time men's record total of 20.

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic will renew their rivalry with a 50th meeting when they do battle in the Australian Open semi-finals.

The all-time greats have been on contrasting runs in Melbourne, where seven-time champion Djokovic will enter their clash on Thursday as favourite.

But Federer cannot be written off in the semi-final encounter most were hoping for once the draw was made.

We take a closer look at the pair ahead of the showdown.

Form and results

For the first time in his career, Federer has reached a grand slam semi-final without facing a top-40 player, but the Swiss 20-time grand slam champion has made hard work of his run. He was tested by John Millman and Tennys Sandgren, saving an incredible seven match points against the latter. Federer appeared to be battling injury during the clash against the American world number 100, but was later hopeful it was "just pain and problems" amid worries over his groin.

R1: bt Johnson 6-3 6-2 6-2
R2: bt Krajinovic 6-1 6-4 6-1
R3: bt Millman 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 4-6 7-6 (10-8)
R4: bt Fucsovics 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-2
QF: bt Sandgren 6-3 2-6 2-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3

Djokovic, meanwhile, has been relatively untroubled since a brief hiccup in the opening round against Jan-Lennard Struff. Having been particularly pleased with his serve, the Serbian star has dominated, dropping just one set. Djokovic has won 84 per cent of his first-serve points, which is behind only Ivo Karlovic and Thiago Monteiro – who played two and one matches at the tournament respectively.

R1: bt Struff 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 2-6 6-1
R2: bt Ito 6-1 6-4 6-2
R3: bt Nishioka 6-3 6-2 6-2
R4: bt Schwartzman [14] 6-3 6-4 6-4
QF: bt Raonic [32] 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-1)

Next up

Djokovic is the favourite in the 50th meeting between the all-time greats, his form and condition seemingly giving him the upper-hand against Federer. He holds a 26-23 record over the 38-year-old, but was beaten in straight sets when they met at the ATP Finals late last year. At grand slams, Djokovic holds a 10-6 record, while he has won three of their four Australian Open meetings. Djokovic is unstoppable when he gets to this stage in Melbourne – he has won the tournament every time he has reached the semi-finals.

Draw

Whoever secures a spot in the final will face Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev or Stan Wawrinka.

What they said

Federer: "I think conditions suit us well here. Start the year strong, probably something to do with court speed, feeling comfortable down here."

Djokovic: "Roger is Roger. You know that he's always going to play on such a high level, regardless of the surface. He loves to play these kinds of matches, big rivalries, semis, finals of grand slams."

Novak Djokovic insisted he does not feel like he is "dominating" Roger Federer despite not losing a grand slam match against the Swiss in seven and a half years.

Federer has not defeated Djokovic at a major since their Wimbledon semi-final meeting in 2012.

Despite five grand slam wins over Federer since then, four of which have arrived in finals, the Serbian does not feel like he has the upper hand ahead of their meeting in the Australian Open semi-finals on Thursday.

Djokovic insisted the 38-year-old, who won their previous meeting at the 2019 ATP Finals in London, always remains a huge threat on all surfaces.

Asked if he knew the reason for his winning streak against Federer at the majors, he said: "Not particularly, to be honest. 

"Wimbledon last year, he had two match points, he was one shot away from winning that match. It's not like I've been dominating the match-ups. 

"I've had success against him in grand slams in particular. But Roger is Roger. You know that he's always going to play on such a high level, regardless of the surface. 

"I know that whenever we get a chance to play each other, we understand it takes a big effort and it's required from us to come up with the best game in order to win against each other.

"He loves to play these kind of matches, big rivalries, semis, finals of grand slams.

"I mean, he's probably going to confirm that that's probably the biggest reason why he's still competing, to be able to compete at the grand slams against the best players in the world."

Since dropping a set in the first round against Jan-Lennard Struff, Djokovic has recorded four consecutive straight-sets victories, including Tuesday's 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-1) quarter-final triumph over Milos Raonic.

The run has followed his star showing at the ATP Cup, where he led his country to victory and beat Rafael Nadal in the final.

Djokovic is in a confident mood ahead of the match with Federer as he sits two wins away from a record eighth Australian Open title.

The second seed said: "I've been feeling well on the court. If I continue playing the way I was throughout the tournament here and also ATP Cup, I've been building. 

"I think as the time passes by, in every match, I have more confidence, I feel better. 

"In the end of the day, this is the court where I had the most success in my career."

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