Djokovic Dominates Nadal For 7th Australian Open Title, 15th Grand Slam
by Staff | January 27th, 2019, 9:12 am
  • 52 Comments

Billed as another epic between two tennis greats and longtime rivals, the much-hyped 53rd meeting between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal was over about 10 minutes into the match.

Djokovic came out supremely focused and in full flight winning 12 of the first 13 points over a shell-shocked Nadal who simply was outclassed and overmatched on the final night of the 2019 Australian Open.

The Serb handed Nadal one of the worst losses of his career, in a 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 drubbing. And it wasn’t even that close.

“It ranks right at the top,” said Djokovic. “Under the circumstances, playing against Nadal, such an important match, I mean, it’s amazing. Obviously back-to-back semi-finals and final, I think I made 15 unforced errors in total in two matches. It’s quite pleasantly surprising to myself, as well, even though I always believe I can play this way, visualize myself playing this way.

“At this level,” he said. “It was truly a perfect match.”

Djokovic was hardly challenged in the brisk 2 hour, 4 minute match. Nadal had the new serve on display all event but it didn’t make a dent. Djokovic was simply better dropping just one point on his won delivery in the opening set, and he surrendered just three in total on his second serve in the entire match.

Djokovic also controlled the rallies in stunning fashion, attacking and damaging Nadal’s vaunted forehand early and often. Staying in the court and hitting angles with depth to the Nadal forehand which got the Spaniard on his heels and out of position. Early on, it was clear there was no place Nadal could hit to make the Serb feel any pressure.

Down 3-0 in a blink, the match was effectively over. He has now won 17 straight sets and 8 consecutive matches against Nadal on hard courts.

“I mean starting off well in the match. Coming off from the blocks with the right intensity and trying to be aggressive and protect the line and make him feel pressure from my side, obviously that was the game plan,” Djokovic said. “I managed to get a crucial break already in the second game, get 3-Love in under 10 minutes. That was really, really important because Nadal always brings huge intensity to the court, 100 per cent of his focus and determination.”

Djokovic finished with 34 winners, just 9 unforced and 16/18 at the net, and that comes off an equally flawless performance Friday night against Lucas Pouille.

Nadal, who hadn’t lost a set in the in the tournament, was left helpless. Nothing was working, either from the serve or surprisingly from the ground.

“He played I think fantastic,” Nadal said afterward. “At the same time is true that when he’s playing that way, I think I needed something else. I was not able to have that extra thing tonight.

“Yeah, was unbelievable the way that he played, no doubt about that. But at the same time is true that probably physically I was not able. I played fantastic tennis during both weeks, is true, but probably playing that well, I didn’t suffer much during the both weeks. Five months without competing, having that big challenge in front of me, I needed something else. That something else probably today, I don’t have it yet. That’s my feeling, to compete at this super high level.”

Pressured by Djokovic, Nadal’s forehand which produced a slew of winners en route to his fifth Australian Open, was malfunctioning. And his backhand also lacked bite.

“I make more mistakes because he pushed more. That’s all,” Nadal added. “But the things started so quick. He was pushing me to every ball.

“What on other days have been a serve and a ball that I can have in offensive position, today have been in defensive position.”

The win moves Djokovic to 15 career Grand Slams, one ahead of Pete Sampras and just two behind Nadal. His seven Australian Open titles are a record for any man. And he’s now won his last three Slams taking 21 straight matches, winning all three finals in straight sets.

“It was definitely a sign of destiny to start playing tennis, to aspire to be as good as Pete,” Djokovic said. “To surpass him with Grand Slam titles, I’m speechless.”

He’s the first player to win three straight Slam three times and he’ll eye a second “Nole Slam” and Career Slam in Paris.

“I am aware that making history of the sport that I truly love is something special,” added Djokovic. “Of course, it motivates me. Playing Grand Slams, biggest ATP events, is my utmost priority in this season and in seasons to come. How many seasons are to come? I don’t know. I’m not trying to think too much advance.

“I do want to definitely focus myself on continuing to improve my game and maintaining the overall well-being that I have mental, physical, emotional, so I would be able to compete at such a high level for the years to come, and have a shot at eventually getting closer to Roger’s record. It’s still far.”

It’s an incredible achievement for a man who a year ago left Melbourne with a big concern about his elbow and health, and went just 6-6 in his first 12 matches of the year.

“I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I always believe in myself,” he said. “I think that’s probably the biggest secret of my success, if I can say, or probably any other athlete, is self-belief, always digging deep in the moments when you’re facing adversity, digging those moments of complimenting yourself, visualizing yourself as a winner, trying to be in a positive state of mind. It’s much easier said than done obviously.

“12 months ago it was highly unlikely I would be holding three slams. I just have to be conscious of that and understand that I’m blessed.”


You Might Like:
2017 Australian Open Women’s Final Open Thread: Serena v Venus
Djokovic Dominates While Murray Drops A Set; Federer, Nadal Return At Australian Open
Nadal Collides With Melzer; Bombers Berdych, Soderling Battle at French Open Semifinals
2019 Australian Open Final Open Thread: Novak Djokovic v Rafael Nadal
Serena Williams Hits The Manhattan Talk Show Circuit Following Her US Open Win [Video]

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

52 Comments for Djokovic Dominates Nadal For 7th Australian Open Title, 15th Grand Slam

RZ Says:

Was expecting the outcome but not the ease. Peak Nole.

Congrats to Josh on winning the Racquet Bracket! Thanks to all who played.


Margot Says:

Astonishing, flawless tennis from Nole. Breathtaking TBH 7 AOs, what next, you’ve got to ask? 5-6 more slams, is possible.
*Waves* to darling AM :) Sorry your man didn’t show today. Hugs


nits Says:

Nadal simply didn’t showed up today. It was like there is a Robot vs human match where robot with his AI & algorithms had every answer to a weak fable human.


Joshua Says:

Thank you RZ. It’s pleasure.


Joshua Says:

I also won 2018 US Open bracket. I am becoming Racquet Bracket GOAT gradually.


Wog Boy Says:

Only one word:

BLITZKRIEG


fred stone Says:

Unfortunately, Giles, Laver said that “before” the final.
Laver has also called Fed the GOAT, so his flip-flopping is confusing to say the least.


game set match Says:

Giles..

You so adorable….


Wog Boy Says:

As much as I like Laver, as of lately he has been socializing with that German dude, Alzheimer, so I don’t take his comments serious anymore.

What happened with Anna Wintour, she came to Melbourne with only one purpose (apart of disrespecting host country and its Prime Minister) and that was to see her beloved Serena equaling Margaret Court record on her own turf, but left before the final hugely disappointed (her other favourite hasn’t done good either) though Serena didn’t fail in making another “fashion statement”….Greeeench one.

Where is HR?


RZ Says:

@Joshua – Could be, but I think it may be more of a “Big 3” or “Big 4” scenario. :-) Congrats again!


Michael Says:

It was nothing short of a master-class performance by Novak prodigiously producing a game that was complete in all aspects.To belt down Rafa in straight sets in a grand slam is a feat in itself in such a high-stake match crucial for both players cementing their legacy further in the annals of sport.


Tennis Fan Says:

Nadal played well all tournament. Djokovic is a bad match up for Nadal. Djokovic may well win the French and hold all 4 grand slams for a second time in his career.


Czarlazar Says:

Nole won today for the same reason he beat Pouille in the semis, and why he won all his GS titles. His aggressive baseline style is virtually impossible to deal with when he’s on his game. Nadal was whipping forehand winners at will in the first six rounds against lesser opponents. However, Djokovic constantly hits groundstrokes with heavy pace and consistently deep, making Nadal’s attacking game way more difficult to execute. Mere survival becomes the priority under such intensity of fire. Combine that with insane angles, impeccable defence (especially when returning serve), minimal errors, and excellent serving of his own, and that’s a tough opponent to cope with. No wonder Nadal fell so meekly; when Nole is on his game and healthy, he’s the quintessential “too good.”
We’ve all heard dozens of commentators over the years who categorize Djokovic as mainly a defensive player and say his steadiness on defence is the main factor for his success. Absolutely incorrect. Whoever watched his breakout performance at the 2007 US Open saw a young man fearlessly launching deep missiles off both wings, which almost brought him to victory in the final against Federer at the peak of his powers. Then, a few months later Federer’s scalp in the Australian Open semis and a first GS title against Tsonga. Though aggressive baselining of this calibre is hard on the body, if Djokovic somehow stays healthy over the next couple of years, he’ll play in several more finals and solidify his case for GOAT-dom.


Wog Boy Says:

“Djokovic is a bad match up for Nadal.”

Not quite accurate, Nole is bad match up for all top 10 players of his generation, this exlude players like Kyrgios, Zverev, Tsitsipas against whom he played very few matches.
Just check his h2h against likes of Delpo, Wawrinka, Murray, Berdych, Ferrer, Nishikori, Cilic, Tsonga, Monfils and many more.
It’s not bad match it’s better player, as simple as that, is it so hard to say it?!

Interesting stats:

Nole played 25 finals against Rafa,
15 : 10 in Nole favour

Nole played 19 finals against Roger,
13 : 6 in Nole favour

Nole is simply the best player of his era, that includes two players above.


Wog Boy Says:

BTW,
Michael, it’s pleasure to read you again. We had our differences but you are fair and knowledgeable poster.


chrisford1 Says:

Wogboy – There is 3/4ths of 2019 left but it is safe to say that Roger was best in the era of the 2000s and Novak the best in the 2010s, with Rafa second best in both those eras.
Andy Murray, with his Slams, RUPs, 2 gold medals, 12 of his 14 Masters 1000 titles – was 3rd best in the 2010s, Hewitt in the 2000s.
This is an attempt at perspective. GOAT may be subjective, but who is 1-2-3 in a defined era based on stats, shared degree of competition, racket technology, medical and training resources – is more objective and easier to do.
“Slam Count” cannot reconcile the very different tennis periods since the 1960s. Wood racquets. Change from grass to hardcourt. The AO becoming more important than Davis Cop by the late 70s. Serve and volley giving way to baseline play as the most successful style once racket technology forced the court surfaces be made slower so fans had a more interesting sport to watch. Laver deprived of ability to compete for several yeas in his prime due to pro-amateur transition Laver helped create with his sacrifice. Borg quitting at 25. How 5’7″ Laver would have done in the 90s even if he had Pete Sampras’ bludgeon. Rafa in the 90s without slower courts, without 2-type synthetic strings, without the medical advances that kept him playing.
Even though it is easy to see the likes of Pancho Gonzales, Agassi, Djokovic, Federer doing well in different eras, it is speculation. We will never know. But we do know who was best in a specific time period. And in the present decade, it is Djokovic by far.


Van Persie Says:

Agree with CF1 here.

Would like to add, the tennis played by Nr. 1 dictates the direction of tennis. Rafa’s purpose was to play a game, which should harm Roger’s style, then Nole had to adapt , to change his style, so that he dominated Rafa in 2011. Nole was able harm Roger as well, but I have to admit, the Nole-Roger rivalry, was a balanced one. In 2013 Rafa became more aggressive, so that he could beat Nole and so on…

Roger’s luck and badluck, perhaps, he showed a few years before Rafole. Same applies to Nole: luck and badluck for being the youngest one among the 3.

The 3 are GOAT’s , each in his own way


Van Persie Says:

But for me, of course, Nole is the GOAT ;)


Wog Boy Says:

CF1,
If you follow the logic of cult members, which is that only GSs matters, than 37 years old is not even best grass court player ever, he is the 3rd best grass court player ever, he is not nowhere near best CC player and just 1 GS better HC player than Nole, but yet, according to them he is the so-called GOAT, category that is only opinion since officially doesn’t exist nor there is written criteria for it.


Wog Boy Says:

Scheisse, VP I haven’t seen your post before I sent mine;)


Van Persie Says:

WB,

Sorry for intervening. You addressed this to CF1. Yes, “cult members” are always using this “logic”. The problem is, it ws always influenced by the media. Am really proud of Nole, he was not beaten and eaten by this!:)


Van Persie Says:

WB,

Well, I think I am not better than the cult members, since I was not able to eat something until the match was over. lol


Wog Boy Says:

VP,
I am not even going to tell you what I was doing during the match.

You were far more realistic (your words) about the match than me, but I was right in one thing, in order to win the match Nole had to win the first set, and he ambushed Rafa with his aggressive tactics, the rest is history.


Michael Says:

Thanks Wog boy for your compliments. I do not even remember today what apparently led to a friction between us.Life is ephemeral to be wasted over such petty squabbling. I consider you always as an ornate poster who is providing value addition to this forum. Nevertheless, our man has comprehensively won and three cheers for it.


Van Persie Says:

WB,

I cannot brag, I was realistic, as I was expecting a 4-5 setter. Did not expect such an annihilation, tbh.
You were totally right about the importance of the 1st set. A Rafa with a 1st set one, would have been more confident, perhaps the outcome would have been different, who knows? Tennis is such a mental game…


Giles Says:

Too much gloating. Remember KARMA!


Michael Says:

True Wog boy. Novak has dominated the circuit as none of his peers or even noncontemporary legends; not even Roger. His H2H against all players in and out of top 10 is demonstrative of this unprecedented and unequivocal dominance. Even if you happen to be a bitter critic or adversary of Novak, you just cannot ignore this startling enviable statistic. He is just outstanding. I wonder if there is any other player who can reduce a mighty warrior like Rafa looking so despaired and hopeless on court succumbing to the inevitable. And mind you, it is a healthy Rafa without any physical issues and was understandably in such fine fettle destroying his opponents without a trace.


Michael Says:

Van Persie, Wiñning first set was critical for Rafa and not Novak. Novak would have possibly scripted a come back even losing the first set. But this post dissection is purely hypothetical and doesn’t really matter as Rafa wasn’t even close to a break of serve. Infact, he was struggling to hold his own serve despite clicking a health first serve percentage which just goes to show as to how this match betrayed all predictions of a close encounter.


Van Persie Says:

That’s true, Michael


lylenubbins Says:

Congrats to Djokovic and his fans. His peak level is the best tennis that I have ever seen.


j-kath Says:

Van Persie, Wogboy and other Nole fans. The following article is definitely worth your attention……….

https://www.golfdigest.com/story/ok-fine-novak-djokovic-is-the-goat


Giles Says:

These articles are all different versions of the same theme. Tell us something new.


chrisford Says:

Van Persie = I confess I was also too nervous to eat. By the 2nd set, when Rafa was showing signs of life and had a good hold, I decided I needed a walk. Fortunately, where I was in the USA at the time, it was 2:30 in the morning, dark, extremely cold, and windy. So it was a short walk and I was able to see the end of the 2nd set and watched the 3rd feeling more tranquil about things.
It was Andy’s sad and hope against hopes announcement he was done that caused some thinking about what the last years of the careers of Rafa, Fed, and Novak would be and realized this AO Final was huge in shaping that course. Whoever won, I thought a day before the match, would be in the driver’s seat, in the chase for Roger’s various records, to better their own records, who would be #1 at years end, who could get a double career Slam, if Novak could set up an opportunity for a second Grand Slam at Roland Garros. And Rafa looked by far the better player until Novak played Pouille.
Still, some doubts. How would Djokovic handle Rafa’s new serve? Could that be the margin in what most people thought was going to be another down to the wire gladiator war?
And it turned out the answer was Djokovic simply sent the balls back harder and deeper. He was anticipating so well he was cracking back 1st serve balls for winners and feasting on Rafas 2nd serve, wrecking Nadal’s serving confidence. Nadal with his new serve was getting 82% of the points won on 1st serve before playing Djokovic. Against the likely greatest serve returner ever, that dropped to 51%.


chrisford1 Says:

Giles wearies of the same things said so I will give him a totally sick stat. In best of 5 set matches, if Novak wins the 1st two sets, his record is 190-1.
That’s right. 190-1
Now when I have free time I want to know who the one player was that escaped Djokovic’s clutches down the 1st two two sets. Or was it early in Djokovic’s career and he decided to retire on some medical reason?


Eric Vasiljev Says:

CF1: the person who beat him down two sets was Jurgen Meltzer at the 2010 French quarters. The Austrian was the beneficiary of a horrible line call on a hugely critical point (no Hawkeye at French) but Novak never should have let him off the hook.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2010/jun/02/novak-djokovic-umpire-melzer-french-open


Eric Vasiljev Says:

CF1: it was at the 2010 French Open quarters against Jurgen Meltzer. Horrible line call in the last game, but it never should have come to that. Nole got sloppy and started spraying UEs. Mind you, 2009 and 2010 were soft years for him prior to the 2011 breakout.

https://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/tennis/niovak-djokovic-savages-umpire-after-french-open-loss/news-story/1f6b36374507d82baab66ef4afecce7d


Wog Boy Says:

CF1,

It was Melzer at FO2010, according to Vajda that loss was turning point in Nole’s career.
I vividly remember that math couldn’t believe what I was seeing.


Andy Mira Says:

Agree with lylenubbins….Nole’s peak level is the BEST tennis i’ve ever seen too…

For me,he’s on the right path to be The BEST GOAT FROM ALL GOATS…This of coz if he stay healthy & still motivated to play tennis in coming years…Good luck to him…


chrisford1 Says:

Thanks, Wog Boy, I might have gone more nuts than I am already chasing down the lone exception.

And here’s one for you to say in good jest when some Rafa fan gets a little too frisky – NO ONE has lost more matches to one man in the entire history of the Open Era as Rafa has.
(Djokovic’s 28 wins against Nadal are also the most by any player against a single opponent in the men’s game in the Open era).

In jest because we all know Rafa is the guy that the Tour, including Djokovic and Murray said was the toughest player to face. And except for Djokovic, he owns the field.


chrisford1 Says:

Eric Vaseljev – Sorry! I saw Wog Boy’s comment on Meltzer before I saw your posted previous to Wog Boy. Thanks to you, too, for responding.


Giles Says:

Skeezer. That one is old! Anything new to offer??


skeexer Says:

Giles,
It’s not new? I am sorry has there been a tournament since AO that I am not aware of? Please offer.
Re: Feds ranking. It might drop even more. He is only got chances imo on fast surfaces now. We will see as IW is one of the slower HC on tour. That will be telling how he performs there. And I wouldn’t be concerned about Rafa’s ranking either. Both have publicly said they are toning down their scheduling. You’d better get used to the year of the gaping open mouth dude,


Giles Says:

Skeezer. I meant the article has been dangling around since Sunday. Yeah that dude who wants to gobble everything.
Sooooo greedy! Lol


Czarlazar Says:

Did anyone see this picture of Nole after winning the final?

https://media.giphy.com/media/6Xtd46o5rJHI4/giphy.gif

Top story: Djokovic Saves MPs In Thrilling 5-Set Win Over Federer In Wimbledon Final