A event that needed to take care of many uncertainties because of the COVID-19 pandemic, climaxed with Novak Djokovic remaining an unbreakable drive as he thrashed Daniil Medvedev to assert a record-extending ninth Australian Open title.
The world primary’s 7-5 6-2 6-2 triumph on Sunday below the lights at Rod Laver Area secured his 18th Grand Slam title, bringing him inside tantalising attain of Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal’s all-time males’s report of 20.
Djokovic used excellent serving and his standard relentless returning and baseline excellence to seize 11 of 13 video games in a single stretch and beat a visibly pissed off Medvedev for a 3rd trophy in a row at Melbourne Park.
The 33-year-old from Serbia improved to 18-0 mixed in semifinals and finals on the laborious courts of the Australian Open.
“It has been a rollercoaster week for me,” mentioned Djokovic, who was criticised for complaining about coronavirus quarantine situations gamers needed to endure upon arriving in Australia for the event.
“There are a whole lot of blended feeling about what has occurred within the final month or so with tennis gamers coming to Australia however I believe after we draw a line on the finish it was a profitable event.
“It wasn’t simple however I believe they need to be pleased with themselves for what they’ve put collectively and allowed us to come back right here.”
Trying on the larger image, Djokovic has received six of the final 10 main tournaments and is assured of remaining at primary within the rankings a minimum of by March 8. That can give him 311 weeks within the prime spot, breaking a mark held by Federer.
The quantity four-ranked Medvedev was showing in his second Grand Slam remaining – he was the runner-up to Nadal on the 2019 US Open – however remains to be left making an attempt to gather his first such championship.
Djokovic ended the 25-year-old Russian’s 20-match profitable streak. Medvedev additionally had received his earlier 12 matches in opposition to Prime 10 opponents.
However going up in opposition to Djokovic in Australia is a really completely different problem.
By the second set, as issues slipped away, Medvedev bounced his white racket off the blue courtroom, then completely destroyed it with a full-on spike. By the third, he saved trying up at his coach with palms up as if to ask: “What can I presumably do right here?”
It’s a acquainted sentiment on this stadium, on this courtroom, at this event. Federer, Nadal, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Dominic Thiem – all Grand Slam champions, all defeated by Djokovic in semifinals or finals in Melbourne.
The 9 triumphs in Australia complement 5 at Wimbledon, three on the US Open and one on the French Open for Djokovic.
The maths seems good for Djokovic. He’s a couple of 12 months youthful than Nadal and 6 and a half years youthful than Federer, who turns 40 in August. Federer has not competed in additional than a 12 months after having two knee operations however is predicted to return to the tour subsequent month.
‘No-le, No-le, No-le!’
On a cool, cloudy night, an occasion delayed by three weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic concluded with an introduced attendance of seven,426 at Rod Laver Area.
Spectators have been barred solely for 5 days earlier within the event due to a neighborhood COVID-19 lockdown, however they have been finally let again in at 50 % capability.
A majority favoured Djokovic on Sunday, so loads of choruses of his nickname rang out – “No-le, No-le, No-le!” – and Serbian flags dotted the stands, flapping in a swirling breeze.
This was his twenty eighth main remaining, even with Nadal for the second-most by a person in tennis historical past, trailing Federer’s 31.
Djokovic’s run to the title this 12 months was a bit of fraught at occasions.
To begin with, he wrenched his midsection throughout a slip within the third spherical in opposition to American Taylor Fritz; after that win, Djokovic mentioned he had torn a muscle, however by the point he performed his semifinal, he declared himself pain-free.
Plus, getting into Sunday, Djokovic already had ceded 5 units by six matches, essentially the most he had dropped in any Grand Slam event en path to a remaining.
However Djokovic broke in half of Medvedev’s 14 service video games, received 73 % of the factors when his personal first serves went in and 58 % on seconds. And Djokovic performed so cleanly, with simply 17 unforced errors; Medvedev made 13.
“By no means simple to talk once you simply misplaced a grand slam remaining, however I’ll do my finest,” mentioned Medvedev after his loss. “Congrats to Novak. 9 Slams in Australia is superb and this received’t be your final one.”
Djokovic returned the praise, saying Medvedev was “undoubtedly one of many hardest gamers I ever confronted in my life.
“It’s a matter of time that you’ll maintain a Grand Slam for certain – in the event you don’t thoughts ready a number of extra years!”