MELBOURNE, Australia — Who saw that coming? Yes, most of us thought Novak Djokovic was a slight favorite to win another Australian Open title, but the manner in which he beat down Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 in Sunday’s final was stunning.
So what does it mean? Who’s saying what? Here’s what you need to know about Djokovic’s record seventh title Down Under:Social reaction
? 7 x Australian Open
? 1 x French Open
? 4 x Wimbledon
? 3 x US Open#Djokovic
— Nicolas Kiefer (@Nicolas_Kiefer) January 27, 2019
Djokovic masterclass. Taking notes
We can’t have one of the Big Three, Djokovic, Nadal or Roger Federer, win a Grand Slam without revisiting the GOAT discussion. It’s just the way it goes.
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.
But it’s important to note that Djokovic, who has won the past three majors, is only 31, almost a full year younger than Nadal. Federer is 37, and for what it’s worth, he has won four Slams since turning 31.
As Djokovic — and to a larger extent, Nadal — said after the match, health is the overarching concern to the future of their success. Nadal has a long history of injuries but said he’s “happy that I’m healthy.”
Toward the end of 2017, Djokovic took six months off to mend an elbow injury that had plagued him for some time. When he came back, it was a struggle. Djokovic lost in the first round of both Indian Wells and Miami before going on his latest tear. His record since the beginning of Wimbledon last year is 38-4, and that includes two wins each against Federer and Nadal.
Speaking of his rivalry against his biggest challengers, Djokovic has the edge against them all.
And then there’s this stat against Nadal:
If Djokovic can win another couple of majors, those numbers should carry a lot of weight in the GOAT discourse.
Aussie Open dominance
There’s something about the Australian Open for Djokovic. Here is a quick look at his reign of dominance Down Under:
Five more things to know
- This final took 2 hours, 4 minutes, the shortest completed Grand Slam match between Nadal and Djokovic.
- Djokovic is only the second man at age 30 or older in the Open era to win three consecutive majors, joining Rod Laver, who achieved the feat when he completed the Calendar Slam in 1969.
- Djokovic became the first man in history to record three separate winning streaks of three or more consecutive major titles.
- Against Nadal on Sunday, Djokovic dropped only three points on his second serve (16-of-19).
- This marks the first major final Nadal has ever lost in straight sets.
The final word
Djokovic: “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.”
Nadal: “[Djokovic] was better than me tonight. That’s the sport. We can talk a lot, but when the player did almost everything better than you, you can’t complain much. The only thing that you can say is congrats to the opponent, well done.”
The final, final word