It’s time for Novak Djokovic to get the respect he deserves.
Djokovic last year had a better record than Serena Williams, but the American sucked all the air out of the room with her quest for a calendar-year Grand Slam, raking in numerous Athlete of the Year accolades.
But now it’s time for the Serb to enjoy the sole spotlight as the greatest player on the planet. And time for rumblings of the Serb going after a calendar year Grand Slam.
The world No. 1 on Sunday dissected Andy Murray 6-1, 7-5, 7-6(3), equaling Roy Emrson’s six Australian Open titles while sending Murray to a less-envious record, 0-5 in Australian Open finals.
DJokovic’s 11th Slam title brings him closer to his rivals Rafael Nadal (14) and Roger Federer (17).
“I’m very honored to be mentioned alongside legends of our sport like Bjorn Borg, Rod Laver, and to win as many Grand Slams as they did,” Djokovic said. “I can’t lie and say I didn’t think about it. Of course it was in the back of my mind. Coming into the court I knew that I had a chance to make history.”
Last year Djokovic won three of the four Slams, losing in the French Open final to Stan Wawrinka. Williams won the first three Slams and lost in the semifinals of the US Open. Djokovic’s third consecutive Slam title in a row now puts him in line for a “Serb Slam,” a fourth in a row at the upcoming French Open.
“We worked very hard to be in this position, and we should enjoy it,” Djokovic said of himself and his team. “No doubt that I’m playing the best tennis of my life in the past 15 months.”
Murray fell to 9-22 career against Djokovic, making a match of it after the 6-1 first set blowout. The Brit beat Djokovic in the 2012 US Open final, but hasn’t seen a win over the Serb in more than three years.
Djokovic in the second set secured a crucial break in the 11th game, and in the third set each player had a break of serve before leading to the tiebreak where two double faults my Murray helped seal his fate.
“I think I didn’t hit my forehand particularly well at the beginning of the match,” said Murray, who is 2-7 in Slam finals and joins former coach Ivan Lendl as the only men to lose five finals at a Slam.
“I started to hit it better in the third set. But that was it…I was starting to have quite a lot of opportunities in the second. I had a few chances there when I got the break back I think. That was a tough game to lose. Then obviously in the third I felt like towards the end of the set, after I got the break back again, that I was creating a few chances.”
Djokovic is undefeated in 2016, capturing the Doha title and now the Australian Open to start the season. Indian Wells and Miami will next bring all the big dogs together to test the world No. 1. Then all eyes will be on Roland Garros and step No. 2 in the Serb’s Grand Slam march.
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