MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Novak Djokovic has a larger than life presence at the Australian Open.
His face smiles at fans from sponsor’s billboards. His voice gives inspirational advice over center-court speakers between matches.
There’s even a new addition to Melbourne Park called “Novak’s World,” where fans can slip on virtual reality goggles and feel as if they’re walking in Djokovic’s shoes — as he stretches in the locker room and then walks out onto the court as the crowd roars.
A few years ago, the Australian Open and the other majors could have been called “Roger’s World” — when Roger Federer was No. 1, still dominating men’s tennis and the favorite face of sponsors.
On Thursday, the two player’s worlds collide. Again.
The top-ranked Djokovic will play No. 3 Federer in a blockbuster semifinal match at the Australian Open. It will be the 45th installment in a riveting rivalry that is so equally split that they are tied with 22 wins each.
It’s a rematch of last year’s final at the U.S. Open and Wimbledon, both of which Djokovic won in thrilling nailbiters.
It will be their 15th matchup at a Grand…