The Australian Open men’s final played out yesterday exactly how Novak Djokovic hoped it would, him dominating and controlling the match on his way to another major trophy win, and his seventh Australian Open title.
How good was Novak Djokovic, good enough that Rafael Nadal did little more than defend, constantly and when it was over, it was the Serbian superstar walking away winning 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 and taking one of the sports greats and turning him into just another opponent. Djokovic’s performance was flawlessly perfect and free of mistakes on Sunday, and it led to Djokovic saying,
“Under the circumstances it was truly a perfect match.”
There were few that wouldn’t agree, even his coach, Marian Vajda described it as “dominance”, and Rafael Nadal added that it was an amazing level of tennis. His coach, Carlos Maya threw in his two cents worth stating,
“Unbelievable. Novak probably could have won, no matter who the opponent was.”
The fact that Djokovic had a mere nine unforced errors was impressive alone, but scoring 34 winners was even more impressive at this level of play. Nadal had played perfectly in his previous matches throughout the Australian Open not losing a single set. Ranked second in the word, he has earned seventeen major trophies himself but was left reeling after the performance of Djokovic.
Nadal acknowledged that Djokovic plays well and when facing him, extra is needed. However, with Nadal recently returning after being off with injuries, finding that extra was just not in the cards. Nadal went as far as to comment that,
“When the player did almost everything better than you, you can’t complain much.”
Djokovic has won the Australian Open six other times starting in 2008, then again in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016. Joining his list of achievements, he has four Wimbledon championships and three U.S. Open championships. Sunday’s win put him ahead of Roger Federer with the most titles at the Australian Open, and it brought an end to a tie he was in with Pete Sampras for being the player with the most Grand Slam titles. That saw Djokovic move into second place and Sampras regulated to third. Only Federer and Nadal have more – for now. Only Federer and Nadal have more – for now. Djokovic spoke about his achievements and making history stating,
“I am aware that making history of the sport that I truly love is something special. Of course, it motivates me.”
He added that he was surprised by his recovery from elbow surgery after being out the last half of 2017 and part of 2018. However, that is the past, and he again is at the top of his game. It was one that Djokovic himself thought possible.
“Not impossible, but highly unlikely. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I always believe in myself. I think that’s probably the biggest secret of my success.”
While Nadal and Djokovic know each other, each has a different style, and after playing 52 previous matches against each other, it was shocking to see the dominance that Djokovic displayed over Nadal. Commenting on his objective, Djokovic said,
One of the most important objectives for the match was to start off well and to bring in the right mindset and intensity and make sure that he also feels my presence.”
At the end of the second set, it was clear that the Serbian was going home with the trophy and the 4.1 million dollar payday. If he continues at the pace he is on, he will make history again, and potentially take over the number one spot for most Grand Slam wins.