2019 Australian Open Final Open Thread: Novak Djokovic v Rafael Nadal
by Staff | January 26th, 2019, 10:37 pm
  • 73 Comments

The season’s first Grand Slam will be decided tonight as Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal renew their rivalry tonight at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

The duo have met 52 times prior with Djokovic holding a slim 27-25 lead.

Both players enter the final fit and fresh. Nadal enjoyed two days off his destruction over Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Spaniard is into his first Australian Open final without losing a set.

Djokovic has dropped just two sets, but in his Friday night semifinal destroyed Lucas Pouille in less than 90 minutes.

“He has played impressively well throughout the entire tournament,” Djokovic said. “He hasn’t dropped a set. He looked as good as ever on the hard court throughout these few weeks. I haven’t played bad myself last couple matches. I think that this finals comes at the right time for both of us. I’m sure we’re going to have a blast on the court.

“We can promise one thing, and that’s knowing both of us that we’re going to give absolutely everything out on the court. I think people will enjoy it. I will, of course, try to play as well as I have so far. Of course, playing Rafa requires a different approach tactically. I’m sure it’s the same from his side towards me.

“He’s my biggest rival in my career. I’ve played so many matches against him, epic matches on this court. Of course, the one that stands out was the finals of six hours almost in 2012. Hopefully we don’t go that long this time. But I’m sure we’re going to have a good finals.”

ITF TOURNAMENT NOTES
* Six-time Australian Open champion DJOKOVIC is bidding to win his 7th Australian Open title and claim sole ownership of the all-time record for most Australian men’s singles titles.
* Djokovic is also bidding to become the 8th man in history to win at least 7 titles at the same Grand Slam event. Nadal, who has won 11 titles at Roland Garros, holds the record for most titles at the same Grand Slam event.
* Djokovic is bidding to win a 3rd consecutive Grand Slam title and become the first man in history to record 3 streaks of 3 or more consecutive Grand Slam titles. Djokovic won 3 straight Grand Slam titles in 2011-12 and became the first man to hold all 4 Grand Slam titles at once since Rod Laver in 1969 when he won 4 straight major titles in 2015-16.
* Djokovic has won all 6 of the Australian Open finals he has previously contested. He has a 14-9 win-loss record Grand Slam finals overall.
* NADAL is bidding to become the first man in the Open Era – and only the 3rd man in history – to win each of the 4 Grand Slam titles twice. Roy Emerson and Rod Laver are the only players to have won each Grand Slam on 2 or more occasions. (NB While Laver completed the feat in 1969, some of the titles were won before the start of the Open Era.)
* Nadal is bidding to become just the 8th player – man or woman – to win 18 or more Grand Slam titles and equal Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova in 6th place on the list for most Grand Slam titles in history.
* If Nadal wins today’s final in straight sets, he will become the first man in the Open Era to win 4 Grand Slam titles without dropping a set. He would become just the 3rd man to achieve the feat at the Australian Open after Ken Rosewall in1971 and Roger Federer in 2007. By winning all 6 of his matches here in straight sets, he has reached the final here without dropping a set for the first time – and reached a Grand Slam final without dropping a set for the 7th time.
* Nadal is bidding to avoid a 4th consecutive defeat in an Australian Open final. Of Nadal’s 7 Grand Slam final defeats 3 have come here. He has a 17-7 win-loss record in Grand Slam finals overall.

Head-to-head: Djokovic leads 27-25
A 53rd Tour-level meeting for Djokovic and Nadal – the pair hold the record for most Tour-level match-ups in the Open Era. This is the pair’s 15th Grand Slam meeting – equalling Djokovic and Federer’s record for most Grand Slam match-ups in the Open Era.

This is the 25th Tour-level final that the pair have contested, giving them sole ownership of the Open Era record for most match-ups in Tour-level finals. This is the first Tour-level final the pair have contested since 2016 Doha, which Djokovic won in straight sets.

This is the pair’s 8th meeting in a Grand Slam final which gives them sole ownership of 2nd place on the Open Era list for most match-ups in Grand Slam finals. This is their first meeting in a Grand Slam final since 2014 Roland Garros, which Nadal won in 4 sets. They have previously contested 3 finals at the US Open, 2 finals at Roland Garros, and one final both here and at Wimbledon.

This is the pair’s 2nd meeting at the Australian Open. In their only previous meeting here, in the 2012 final, they contested the longest Australian Open final on record, with Djokovic winning 57 64 62 67(5) 75 in 5 hours 53 minutes.

Nadal is bidding to end a 7-match losing streak against Djokovic on hard courts. He has not defeated Djokovic on a hard court since the final at the 2013 US Open. This is their 26th meeting on a hard court. Djokovic leads the head-to-head on hard court 18-7 – by comparison, Nadal leads the clay court head-to-head 16-7 and they are tied 2-2 on grass.

SUNDAY AUSTRALIAN OPEN SCHEDULE
4pm
Men’s Doubles Final
(12) H. Kontinen/J. Peers v (5) P. Herbert/N. Mahut

Men’s Singles Final
NOT BEFORE 7:30PM
(1) Novak Djokovic (SRB) v (2) Rafael Nadal (ESP)

WUNDERGROUND.COM SUNDAY FORECAST
Partly Cloudy. High 79F. Winds S at 10 to 20 mph.

LADBROKES ODDS
Novak Djokovic 8/11 v Rafael Nadal 11/10

US TV SCHEDULE
ESPN will have live coverage of the men’s final at 3:30am ET.

POLL


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73 Comments for 2019 Australian Open Final Open Thread: Novak Djokovic v Rafael Nadal

Joshua Says:

Bring it on, No1e!!!


Ronn Says:

One more, Djoko! Let’s do this!


Daniel Says:

Game ON!!


Daniel Says:

Nadal 2 breaks whole tourney, first game 2 Fh errors and Djoko on fire all returns made already breaking 9-1 in points.


FedExpress Says:

Nadal getting owned


jatin Says:

Novak looking red hot. Hitting super clean.
Its kind of strange to see Rafa being so nervous at the start.
Already, 3-0


Daniel Says:

Wow, what a start for Djoko. Imperious on serve.

Nadal’ hasn’t play nayone near close Dioko’s caliber, more tense 5 UE inn2 games shows nerves by him. Will take a while to get his feet in the match. Djoko couldn’t have a greater start


gonzalowski Says:

buff Rafa… come on! for sure after this initial shock he’ll react


gonzalowski Says:

strange 2 errors from Nole…


jatin Says:

Novak on Fire.
Reminds me of his form against Fed in 2016 Semi finals.


Daniel Says:

3 love service holds by Djoko and 2 times Nadal served faced BP. Djojo ha d a second seeve return to go up 4-0 but chose to attack and missed. He is going for broke


All out Says:

Nadal with a lot of unforced errors today.. A poor service game to start. And still standing way too deep for the return. Forget this set. Start fresh from second. Vamos!!!


Djoko Says:

Nadal wiffing a shot😱
Djoko 16-0 points on serve. 5-2 pressure on Nadal to hold.
In qorst case Djoko will serve the firat set and maybe he gest a bit tense because so far he is playif on his term and Nadal still not relaxed ln court.


Daniel Says:

Nadal holding to love.
Djoko serving for the set, so far 16-0 on serve.


jatin Says:

Very positive game from Rafa.


gonzalowski Says:

at last a very good game from Rafa. oh Nole is capable of running so fast!


gonzalowski Says:

what a bh from Nole


Daniel Says:

Nadal trying to change the pace and height. What a BH winner precise by djoko.
And now a long rally he won. Doube set point. C’mon Djoko!!


Daniel Says:

Djoko 20-1 on serve this set and that was an UE at the net. With those stats he is unplayable on this court.
But Nadal’a game improved and he is going for more on depth and lines so he will make more errors.


gonzalowski Says:

as many times, my impression on these Rafoles is: Nole rises his level when he wants


Daniel Says:

Nadal trying to do too much going for lines and missing shots he normally made. Djoko effect on him


gonzalowski Says:

yes agree Daniel


Daniel Says:

And Djoko breaks. His credit tonight is making Nadal unconfortable on court for an hour. Its clear, he is looking at his box all the time. Trying ti change patterns on court, too manu UE. A huge drop in form, he is unbalanced several times. Its getting to him.

Djoko just needs to keep the foot on the pedal and doesn’t allow any ressurgence. Serving to consolidate the break, huge game for Djoko


Daniel Says:

1st 40-40 on Djoko’s game.


Daniel Says:

Yeah, hold and 4-2 lead. Keep the service game going.


Van orten Says:

Watching this match makes two things clear for me .. fed v nadal on hardcourts good chance . Vs djokovic not so much …


Daniel Says:

What was that return?! Djoko zooning now. Another break, 5-2 and serve.

That game Nadal push him to deuce woke him up (even more) and he produce another gear. Total dominance!


jatin Says:

Novak is playing unreal tennis. He is in No Miss mode.
Hope Rafa could do something in the 3rd set as it looks like the 2nd set is pretty much over.


gonzalowski Says:

😢😢😢


van orten Says:

What a beast the djoker is .. all the talk about nadal’s new serve blah blah .. he played v opponents being intimidated by him .. well the djoker is a different animal a different species ..


Daniel Says:

Wow, 3 satright aces to close.

Only injury makes Djoko lose this match now. 7th AO a couple minutes away. Lost just 6 points on serve overall and 5 were in that 3-2 game, never even facing a BP so far.


Daniel Says:

Well, at least Nadal will keep his track of short matches this AO, but this time in the other end😜


Daniel Says:

Your time, no now is mine time!

He is so confortable he is drop shoting.


Daniel Says:

Inevitable break!

Nadal now is playing to try to make this set competitive, prolong the match a bit because his disconfirt on court is visblle, body languege in between 1st and 2nd serves.

Djoko serving 2-1


Daniel Says:

Love when Djoko unleashs the perfect BH winner with the grunt. Tennis lesson that shot, never seases to amase me, plus his return of serve.


Daniel Says:

Another close game at 3-2 Djoko serving, this time at leats Nadal had his 1st BP of the match.

Djoko 4-2. 2 more chances for Nadal if he avoids another break


All out Says:

Well this is awkward.. What is nadal even doing? This will be over in 10 minutes. Very disappointed with nadal’s play today. Congratulations to Nole.. Simply too good today.


fred stone Says:

Rafa 1.0 looked better than this.


Daniel Says:

1 game from title #15. Nadal serving under huge pressure


Daniel Says:

I don’t know if its even posible to play better than this. Double MP


Andy Mira Says:

Well like i said if Rafa choose to play like his vintage self…he’ll be doomed….DOOMED it is…Very disappointing final from Rafa…EVER!!

And huge congrats to Nole & fans for his outstanding perfomance..and his 15th of coz..


Van Persie Says:

Thank you, Nole :)
He’s the king in Melbourne now


gonzalowski Says:

congratulations to Nole and his fans!!
what a great player and competitor
Rafa’s nemesis indeed.
well done Rafa, not today maybe, but you are so brave


Andy Mira Says:

Now,gotta go find sofa & teddy bear & crying!..hehehe..


Daniel Says:

Absolute masterclass win.

Shotest best of five set between than even that RG 2015. Superiority of Djoko outside clay is evident. He made Nadal look ordinary today. All the hype of Nadal form went away showing this sport is mostly mental.

Djoko get back to where he was in 2016 when they were 17-14-12, now 20-17-15.

Fed onws Wimbeldon, Nadal Roland Garros and Djoko now undisputed AO onwer: 7 titles, stands alone.

What a comeback for him, 3 Slams after surgery last year. Playing injury free and producong his best when matters.

He is not done yet and RG 19 and another Djoko Slam doible career Slam is around the corner.

Also, should he does the Grand Slam and win all 4 this year with 18 he will be GOAT already with ovearll achievements.

Safe as #1 at leats till Wimbledon. Credit to Marian Vjada. Don’t mees tbat winning team again.


FedExpress Says:

It wasnt Allah’s will to let Rafa win.


kriket Says:

Game over. Novak in God mode 62, 63, 63. Rafa clearly still or again has the jinx playing Novak. Just like Fed had against him in the old days.
Novak has a chance at a second Grand Slam if he can win RG.


gonzalowski Says:

Pepe Imaz we need you!
very respectful Nole, as always


gonzalowski Says:

ok Rafa I agree, positive thinking it’s what all we need, keep motivated. Great guy


j-kath Says:

A-Mira and other Rafa fans:

– gosh, Rafa so so nervous – pity he couldn’t bring his previous strong mind-set and stunning previous performances to this match…..

VP and Novak fans: He did it again….hearty congratulations…nobody is going to want to play him now….he’ll probably win his next tournament through a rash of sudden injury withdrawals by potential opponents….

PS: the “old Greek” has apologised……


jatin Says:

Congratulations Novak and his fans. What a player, What a LEGEND.
Felt kinda bad for Rafa though, He had no answers today, looked scared. But its been an amazing tournament for him. Great comeback from injury again.


Giles Says:

Just remember Rafa hasn’t played a professional tourney since US Open!


Wog Boy Says:

Rafa kept his AO 2019 record intact, he played no more than three sets per match.


Wog Boy Says:

VP,
Hats down to you. Are we still on talking terms:(

JK,
Too little too late, old fart shoud have done it very next day and not when he was ordered to do it.


chrisford1 Says:

This reminded me of the AO in 2013 – I saw Djokovic play like this against David Ferrer in the semis. Utter annihilation. David was maybe at his peak that year and Djokovic in full Serbinator mode, made him look like a 300th ranked player.

Nadal, it was certainly bigger and the conquest more impressive because it is Rafa Freaking Nadal who mopped up his competition this AO until tonight.And to the extent Rafa tightened, it happened to Ferrer that night 6 years ago, Ferrer said he tightened up because there was nothing he could do, nothing he tried worked..

It’s Rafa. He’ll wake up tomorrow and try harder. No fan of his should be worried, save that Novak got in Nadal’s head and we will see how he shakes it off in the 5 Masters being played before the French Open.

For Novak, it’s great to see a very decent, very bright and articulate man, who worked the hardest to realize his talent and athletic abilities – succeed like he has. He has earned it.


Andy Mira Says:

JK…Thank u so much for your words!…well..Rafa deserved to lose with the way he was playing…That’s hardly worth a perfomance for a final!….God!…so so disappointing from Rafa…

WB…hahahaha….funny!!


Anto Says:

Congrats to Novak on his unprecedented 7th Aussie Open. As for Rafa it was fairly evident that he was nervous playing Novak and the UE count shows that. Well as a Rafan ever since he won La Decima in French Open I have been satisfied with what he had achieved. These days I am just glad to see him play.


Michael Says:

There wàs so much expectations from this match where it was overwhelmingly believed it would transcend to another level given that the 2012 outing from both these ATGs of sport produced no less than a magic. Unfortunately, the expectations were not even faintly matched and it ended in a damp squib making this edition of Australian Open a dampener especially in the male category in different phases of tournament. Both the semis and finals turned out to be banal. The insipid outcome today was a vicious combination of some exceptional play by Novak complemented with a sub-par performance by Rafa:result; was a let down at many levels despite the promise Rafa showed with his clinical display right through the tournament dismantling his opponents without much fuss until he ran to his Nemesis: the irrepressible Novak who was on fire in the court ripping one winner after another and making Nadal’s miserable on court. it is the doubts that sprouted out in Rafa’s mind which drew many errors and he was lost for a strategy – whether to deploy defence or offence with a rampaging Novak not showing any mercy to his opponent. It is the most one sided final in Rafa’s career and it reminiscenced the 2008 demolition of Roger at French Open in the hands of Rafa. Will Novak follow up with a French win by conquering the Lion in its own den after this spectacular display like Rafa did to Roger at Wimbledon ? Will history repeat itself by making Novak hold all the four trophies in succession for the 2nd time in his career ? Definitely, you can never discount it even if you are a fanatical Rafan. Afterall, mind games have a greater say in Tennis at this top level with little separating the ATGs !!


Michael Says:

My candid commiserations to all devout Rafa fans especially: Andy Mira, Giles, James and a host of others. I can share your disappointment with such a shoddy display by Rafa which is unlike him, given the fighting qualities that he is known for. Even in the third set after the break, I was expecting Rafa to make the match interesting even with a break down. But it never came with everything going against him. He looked stumped by the incredible angles Novak was producing on court one after another.


Michael Says:

What can one say about Novak, the Champion. A year back, when he was convalescing after an elbow surgery, would anybody have seen this coming !? Definitely not. Well, he had his disappointments too at WTF and Paris Masters – both losing in the finals. But he has shown to the world that he is a different animal and class apart when it comes to the prized trophy of grand slams.Now, sky seems to be the limit for him and it is really tough to imagine that he will be stopped at both Wimbledon and US Open this year where he should be the overwhelming favourite. Even at Rolland Garros, he will not be a push over and will plausibly pose a stiff challenge to Rafa. Roger’s 20 although at the moment looking a bit unassailable will become vulnerable if this inevitability plays out as expected.


Truth Seeker Says:

The 7th AO and winning 15th Slam to surpass Sampras and secure all-time 3rd best is remarkable achievement.
What is more significant is Djokovic alone stands atop with 3 consecutive Slams for the record 3rd time in the history of tennis, in both pre-open and open eras.

Now this suddenly opens the door for possible 2nd Career True Slam, winning 4 in a row, to register another open era record.

Who could have really thought in their right minds that Djokovic would be able to hand the worst possible demolition to the new and improved Rafa? Definitely, I didn’t. Apparently, Rafa’s new serve and point-shortening strategy worked marvelously against everyone else, but against Djokovic, it wouldn’t be unfair to conclude they backfired, for the moment. On a second thought, maybe, we should wait until May, assuming they meet at the RG final, to pass the final verdict on those changes of Rafa’s. It would be preposterous to ridicule Rafa’s age-suited tactics without giving them sufficient time to grow and mature and see what kind of weapons they can become in the next 6 months or so.


Andy Mira Says:

Michael….Thank u so much for your commies..and very agree with everything u said….Novak displayed what a great champ should played…and if you can’t give your 100% of everything…that’s what u get…a drubbing..or a rout…no matter who u r….It was like 2015 all over again….oh well…hehe…

Nole really sealed he’s the King Of AO…Wishing him all the best for the rest of the season..


Van Persie Says:

Thanxs to all, who congratulated for the congrats :)

Rafans,

your guy had a great run after coming back from injury. He changed his game, it was a bit clear to me it could not work so soon against Nr. 1. Resistence comes from baseline after all 😉
Nole can still be very good from there. He proved it in match against Medvedev.

WB,

all good. I knew, Nole couls not losw a match on 27.01…day when he won his 1st AO nd GS😁

JK,

a special thank to you.Much appreciated

Now I am off, celebrating😎


j-kath Says:

Wogboy:

And it was sent to a nwsp. to publish….did he even send original to the victims?


Daniel Says:

Nadal now drops to 6-8 in non RG Slams final (4 loesses to Djoko, 3 to Federer and 1 to Wawa): 1/-4 in AO; 2/3 in Wimbeldon and 3-1 in USO. There is something that just doesn’t align for him in AO. But mainly more agressive HC players. He made 5 of the last 11 AO finals, which is remarkable but the least titles he got.

USO he also has a good rub of finals, with 4 out of last 9.

Djoko now has now 6 wins in Slams versus Nadal, who has 9 wins ober him, but they are tied 4-4 in finals


skeezer Says:

Nole jumped on Rafa’s serve from the get go and created back court angles that were on point. Basically, Nole was on fire. Once Rafa’s supposedly new and improved serve were dismantled, it was over. Add to the fact that Nole is in Rafa’s head……..still, it created nervous energy, you have the recipe for a meltdown, and that is what happened.
Nole was too good, taking the ball early, and taking time away from the Bull.
Congrats to Nole and his true fans on pocketing another Slam, ahead of Sampras now, he was/is awesome. FO should be very interesting this year, finally :)


Madmax Says:

Giles,

This was not the Rafa of old. He seemed very sluggish to me, but not surprising all of those miles in his legs. But still, he got to the final, which is more than Roger did, but he was showing his age today. Don’t you think?

Novak was supreme. For sure and certainly benefited from the retirement of Kei and so was able to rest up pretty darn quick. Reaching 15 is incredible and there would be no surprise here if he continued this march forward and swept the year. But nature has a way of catching up with them all. Winning all slams this year will be a big ask and what it does to the body. Certainly Novak was super pumped and really seemed to display a lot more passion. I have not seen Rafa play this bad, if ever. He seemed to want to get it over and done with – don’t you think?

Here’s the full quote, from the quarterfinal press conference. Not at all rude.

Giles, you need to look at the twitter account of the full media interview from Novak, which you wrongly refer to as ‘Shi**’. Novak did not say this about Rafa, and you have taken it completely out of context, hardly surprising – this was a straightforward beat down. I was disappointed in Rafa’s play. The right winner won. He played with heart and with passion. He wanted that trophy and here’s the thing, he is still hungry for more. Not a great match at all.

I was disappointed overall with the lack of skill from Rafa, he seemed out of sorts .


Giles Says:

This match was a tad too soon to play against joker after Rafa had not played a single tourney after US Open. That’s 4 months without competitive play. Notwithstanding this fact I think Rafa played a good tournament for 2 weeks. He took care of the young guns at least. Joker on the other has been playing continuously without a break building his game and confidence. Rafa was not ready to face joker. As simple as that!


Django Says:

Giles, Rafa will play better at RG


Nikola Says:

Django Says:

Giles, Rafa will play better at RG

He will not.


skeezer Says:

“That’s 4 months without competitive play. Notwithstanding this fact I think Rafa played a good tournament for 2 weeks. He took care of the young guns at least. Joker on the other has been playing continuously without a break building his game and confidence. Rafa was not ready to face joker. As simple as that!”

Okey dokey,

But I do remember another guy who was out longer and then played at a tournament, think was a Slam, think it was the AO! And Won.

“…Thirty-five years old, with no tournament play for six months, in his third successive five-setter,…”
https://www.smh.com.au/sport/australian-open-2017-federer-conquers-nadal-and-the-world-20170130-gu11ph.html


kriket Says:

A few times a glanced at Nadal matches at this year’s AO, before watching the final, I noticed that Rafa didn’t sweat as much as he did in the past. Remember how he used to sweat so much it was always pouring down his nose, his shirts soaking wet. None of that at this AO, and it wasn’t like it was cold in Australia these past few weeks. It was hot as hell and yet he almost didn’t break a sweat.
I wonder what happened there…(?)


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