ominating Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, Novak Djokovic stormed to a record-breaking 9th Australian Open title in Melbourne. But the question is, can he overtake Federer and Nadal in Grand Slams to become the greatest ever?
Djokovic entered Sundays final confident with 8 Australian open titles under his belt and sure enough, he did not falter. Winning all 3 sets, 7-5, 6-2, 6-2, the world number 1 crushed Medvedev leaving himself with 18 major grand slam titles, only two places behind the joint leaders, Rodger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Despite Medvedev’s suggestion that Djokovic would be under the pressure of history, playing an opponent with nothing to lose from the second set until the final forehand, it was the Russian who was suffocating under the pressure. Djokovic was tearing through Medvedev’s outstanding 202.7Km/h serves, breaking 7 in the second set, eventually leaving Medvedev down three sets to love and the match.
Following 2020’s triumph in Melbourne, Djokovic stated in an interview with ESPN that “at this stage of my career, Grand Slams are the ones I value most”. With this in mind, Djokovic had hoped that Last year's achievement would set the tone for the year ahead. However, it was not an easy 12 months for Sport as we know, and when COVID-19 hit, it left only two slams for Djokovic to compete in The US Open and Roland Garros.
The US open did not go accordingly for Djokovic, surprisingly for reasons other than COVID-19. Out of anger, or so it appeared to many, after falling behind 5-6 to Carreno Busta, Djokovic firmly struck a ball to the back of the court where it hit a linesman in the throat. The decision was made for Djokovic to be precluded from the tournament and stripped of his ranking points and $250,000 prize money.
The 2021 Australian open was a chance for Djokovic to put the mistakes of the previous year behind him and hit reset. Not even an abdominal tear caused by a fall just nine days before the final could stop the world number 1 from taking the victory. If Djokovic had lost in Melbourne, this would have left him 3 slams behind Federer and Nadal, meaning he would have needed to win 3 majors after his 34th birthday in May - something no man has ever done before.
Djokovic has secured himself yet another Grand Slam title leaving him closer than ever to the top. What will the Serbian achieve next as he chases down history?
Featured image: Twitter@DjokerNole