Novak Djokovic is now 5th on the list of Grand Slam Champions with 11 trophies under his belt. He trails Roger Federer (17), Pete Sampras and Rafael Nadal (14) and Roy Emerson(12). With his win at the Australian Open he has equaled Roy Emerson’s record of six Australian Open Championships and now has a total of 8 (6 Aus + 2 US) hard court Grand Slam titles trailing only Roger Federer who has 9 (4 Aus + 5 US). This is his third consecutive Grand Slam title and he just doesn’t seem to have brakes in his car. He is closing on all the records possible, if haven’t broken them already and if continues so he might be standing toe to toe with Rafael Nadal by the end of this season with 14 Grand Slam titles and an Olympic Gold medal.
Andy Murray, having played two amazing matches against David Ferrer and Milos Raonic, could not bring the fight to Djokovic and lacked the ammunition that you require in a Grand Slam final. Murray could have beaten any other player that day but he already knew, coming into the match, that Djokovic was going to be a different ball game altogether. In the match, Djokovic won only 24 more points and hit lesser winners than Murray, but that seemed good enough to wrap up the match in straight sets. Murray has now lost 5 Australian Open Finals (4 to Djokovic and 1 to Federer), which is the most by any player in a single Grand Slam event. A record that he shouldn’t be proud of. On the other hand, Andy’s brother Jamie won his first Australian Open trophy alongwith Soares in the Men’s doubles event.
Excluding injury or other out-of-game issues, no one has had a worse run than David Ferrer over his career. And it’s primarily because of when he was born. David Ferrer (33) is not even called an old guy or his age is never mentioned when he enters a tournament, something that Roger Federer gets plenty of. He has a superb game and has been in the Top 8 for the past couple of years. His game reflects the hard work he does and the effort he puts into every shot, but he has never tasted success at the top. Apart from his lone Paris Masters trophy, in the last 11 years Ferrer has been at least one of the best 16 players at a Grand Slam — 17 times in the last six years, and he has been to a Grand Slam final once. As one tennis writer wrote during Ferrer’s match against Murray, “I defy you to watch this Murray-Ferrer match and resist boxing analogies.” Ferrer does everything right, just not right enough.
Congratulations to the brand new World No 2 in Women’s tennis, Angelique Kerber. She beat defending champion Serena Williams in her first Grand Slam final at the Australian Open. She had never been beyond the fourth round of the tournament and had lost to Azarenka brutally in the Brisbane final but she overcame all odds and pulled off a victory against the generation’s best player. After Sharapova’s demolition, Serena was undoubtedly the favourite to win but Kerber had other plans. Serena showed why she is the champion she is. She was very graceful in defeat and was the first one to congratulate Kerber on her victory.
There just seems to be no answer to Novak Djokovic right now. He has gotten everything just where it should be. People had similar thoughts when Federer was at his peak, then came Rafael Nadal. People said Nadal was unstoppable and would create unsurmountable records, but then came Novak Djokovic. Now that Novak Djokovic is a brand to reckon with, we are waiting for the next big thing to show up.
Ilie Nastase once said, “They should send Borg away to another planet. We play tennis. He plays something else.” But I am sure the game has evolved tremendously since the era of Nastase and Borg. Djokovic is the new force!