Australian Open 2019: Novak Djokovic motivated by pursuit of Roger Federer record

Jan 28, 2019, 01:28
Australian Open 2019: Novak Djokovic motivated by pursuit of Roger Federer record

Intent on keeping the next generation at bay, Novak Djokovic is promising no let-up after inflicting Rafael Nadal with the heaviest grand slam defeat of his illustrious career. "When someone does everything better than you, you can't complain", Nadal said after the match. But on Sunday, Nadal will be up against the man who has the best return in the circuit.

Nadal's form has not gone unnoticed by Djokovic, who said: "He has improved his serve".

World No.1 Novak Djokovic has taken some time to reflect on where he stands in the all-time pantheon of tennis greats after winning his 15th career Grand Slam title.

"I don't want to say I figured him out because I don't want that to bounce back at me in any way in the future", Djokovic said.

Everyone has an opinion, and there's plenty of gray area when it comes to these often contentious debates, but strictly sticking to the stats, here are some notable numbers, starting with a list of the players with the most Grand Slam titles.

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Novak Djokovic dropped just eight games in his Australian Open final thrashing of Rafael Nadal in an incredibly one-sided decider on Sunday. If Djokovic were to beat Nadal to win the French Open, there would not be a T-shirt to house the Serb's pride.

The pair's only previous final in Australia, in 2012, developed into a record-breaking 5hr 53min slugfest - the longest in Grand Slam history.

Evenly matched as they were that night, this time was no contest.

No ball, no matter how well-struck, seemed to be out of Djokovic's reach. He slid and stretched and occasionally even did the splits, contorting his body to get wherever and whenever he needed.

Two years later began the first match of his long rivalry with Roger Federer, where the Spaniard upset the then-world number one in straight sets at the Miami Open. A trend was established. He finally conceded one when serving for the set at 5-3 but it was the only point he gave up before closing it out when Nadal found the net. "You have a lot of great players that on clay can challenge me or anybody else".

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Despite not having an ATP Tour match under his belt since early September, the 32-year-old Spaniard showed few signs of rust during his run to the final.

It took Djokovic just 36 minutes, though, to snap that streak after the top seed broke the second seed's very first service game of the match. He dropped sets for the first time in the tournament, and eventually slumped to his heaviest loss to Djokovic in their Grand Slam meetings.

"One of the most important objectives for the match was to start off well and to bring in the right mindset and intensity", Djokovic said, "and make sure that he also feels my presence". Djokovic, meanwhile, won his first 16 points on serve and faced his first and only break opportunity, which he saved, in the third set.

Djokovic, 31, revealed it was simply self belief that was the cornerstone of his comeback that now sees him hold three major trophies concurrently.

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