Federer sweeps past Youzhny
Roger Federer might not be Novak Djokovic's dinner date anytime soon but Switzerland's six-time Wimbledon champion has denied he bears any animosity towards the man he will tackle in the semi-finals.
- Related Content
Speculation the relationship between the multiple major winners is frosty was quashed by Federer, who stressed they had talked through a flare-up which occurred during a Davis Cup match six years ago.
At the time of the clash between the Swiss and Serbia, Federer labelled the teenage Djokovic "a joke" after he sought treatment in a match against Stanislas Wawrinka. Federer questioned whether Djokovic was hurt at all.
Federer said then: "I don't trust his injuries. I'm serious. I think he's a joke, you know, when it comes down to his injuries."
But that 2006 episode no longer appears a factor, and they head to their first grass-court showdown on Friday if not as the best of friends then at least on civil terms.
Looking back to the match in Geneva, Federer said: "I was just upset at him calling the trainer out for no obvious reason against my buddy, Stan, in a five-setter. That was it. We had a quick chat about it in Madrid after that, and things have been cool for a long time between me and him.
"I've always respected him. Have I gone out for dinner with him? No.
"But I've had many meetings with him at the council, and then now with the grand slams. He's been nice to work with. We've met on several occasions because of other things together.
"I have no issues with him, and I hope you believe me."
With Djokovic having since soared to the number one ranking, and Federer standing third, it would hurt the game if there was a bitterness between the pair.
A rivalry exists though, and after blowing away Mikhail Youzhny on Centre Court, 6-1 6-2 6-2, to the delight of a Royal Box containing not only the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge but Wimbledon royalty in Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi, Federer underlined how much it would mean to him to land a seventh title.
"Obviously it's a big deal. There's no denying that," he said.
"It feels great being back in the semis. I haven't been here in the last couple of years.
"Usually I play some of my best tennis in the last couple rounds. Obviously I'm aware that Novak is the defending champion and the world number one. That's not going to make it easy to come through.
"That's the focus now, instead of taking it two steps at a time where I know I'm holding the trophy.
"I know it's possible. I know I'm playing really well. I am aware things are going to get complicated in the next match."
Youzhny was more animated than the typically ice-cool Federer, the Russian at one point looking up to the Royal Box and asking Agassi for advice.
"That's what Andre told me afterwards," Federer said. "It was pretty funny, him speaking to the Royal Box."
Federer met up with the royal couple after his sparkling victory, which was greeted with a standing ovation.
"Yes, I did meet them," the 30-year-old said. "I met Kate for the first time. William I've met. They were very nice, very friendly. I was very happy to meet them.
"We had a bit of a chat. It was a nice conversation."
Rushing past Youzhny in an hour and a half is one thing - it was Federer's 14th win in 14 matches against a man who knew he was beaten in the early stages - but staying calm in the heat of a battle with the world's leading player quite another.
Yet Federer is confident his tempestuous days are long behind him.
As a youngster, he would routinely smash up racquets but now it would take an aberration of a display to spark any fury.
"Missing 15 forehands in a row would get me upset, but I still don't think I would crush a racquet any more these days," Federer said.
"Who knows, maybe one day it will happen again. I hope it's not going to happen.
"It's true, there needs a lot to go wrong for me to lose my temper.
"Maybe I am the way I am today because I used to be completely nuts on the tennis court before. So I was able to turn that around and now, yeah, I know it's just a tennis match."