Novak Djokovic ensured Roger Federer's grand slam title drought continued when he claimed their Australian Open semi-final in clinical fashion, but the Swiss superstar insists he's not a spent force.
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Federer: I know you guys think I'm old
Roger Federer tells a media pack he still believes he can beat Novak Djokovic after going down to the world number one at the Australian Open.
Federer's last grand slam final win - his 17th - was at Wimbledon in 2012, and he's been a beaten finalist three times since, losing to Djokovic on each occasion.
The world No.1 stormed away to a two-set lead with a brilliant display of shotmaking on Rod Laver Arena, before Federer fought back to force the match to a fourth set.
But while the 34-year-old was disappointed with his performance, he still believes he is capable of turning the tables on his younger rival.
"I have self-confidence ... that doesn't fade away very quickly," Federer said.
"I know it's not easy. I never thought it was easy. But best-of-three (sets), best-of-five ... I can run for four or five hours - it's not a problem.
"I know you guys (in the media) make it a different case - I get that because you think I'm old and all that - but it's no problem for me. It doesn't scare me when I go into a big match against any player who's in their prime right now.
"It's disappointing, but at the same time I'm going deep in slams right now - I'm having great runs.
"Novak right now is a reference for everybody. He's the only guy that has been able to stop me as of late.
"It's okay. I wish I could have played a bit better, and who knows what would have happened, but today Novak was very, very good - there's no doubt about it."
The four-time Australian Open champion thrilled the crowd when he fought back to claim the third set. The crowd broke into rapturous applause after he won the point of the match, and possibly the tournament, with a sublime backhand passing shot on the run in the fourth set.
Djokovic through to final
Roger Federer's late comeback was not enough as Novak Djokovic beats the Swiss legend for the 23rd time.
He received a standing ovation upon departing Rod Laver Arena, and assured local fans he would be back looking for his fifth Australian Open crown next year.
"I talk about it every time ... how thankful I am for the crowd," he said.
"It's a big part of why I'm still playing today. I spend a lot of hours on the practice courts for exactly moments like these where you feel like you're appreciated, you're being pushed forward - they want to see you win.
"I wish I could have one more chance to play another match here this week, but I don't, so of course I'm disappointed maybe for parts of my fans and also for myself.
"But I definitely walk away from a place like this and say, 'I want to come back next year'. I want to re-live it again."
Djokovic will play the winner of Friday night's second semi-final between Scottish world No.2 and four-time runner-up Andy Murray or big-serving Canadian 13th seed Milos Raonic.
The 28-year-old will be bidding to join legends Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver with 11 major championship wins in what will be his 19th grand slam final.
"Right now, I feel like I'm at the peak of my career and I'm trying to cherish every moment on court," Djokovic said.
"Definitely I played an unbelievable first two sets but that's what is necessary against Roger.
"He's been playing a very high level in this tournament. He's been playing very aggressively.
"I came up with the right intensity. I executed everything perfectly.
"Obviously with a two-set lead is more comfortable, but it was a battle in the end."