Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal 6-3 6-2 6-3 to claim a record-breaking seventh Australian Open, posing a big question – will he overhaul Roger Federer’s Grand Slam total?
After both cruising through their semi-finals, Sunday morning’s final was expected to be a close affair and like their near six-hour Australian Open final in 2012.
This however was not the case, as a breathtaking Djokovic swept the world number two aside in just over two hours.
The victory makes Djokovic the only man in history to claim seven Australian Open titles, surpassing Roger Federer and Roy Emerson.
The Serbian put the writing on the wall very early on, with Nadal only winning a single point in the first three games of the match.
After stunning forehand winners from Djokovic, the 31-year-old went on to comfortably take the set 6-3.
A mature and agile performance only saw the world number one lose one point on serve all set.
Nadal steps up pressure
The second set saw some more grit from the Spaniard as he managed to hit eight winners of his own.
The Serb, who has won the last three Grand Slams after winning Wimbledon and the US Open last year, managed the Nadal serve at the third time of asking taking a 3-2 lead.
He then crushed the Spanish serve in the next game.
This resulted in him going on to secure the second set 6-2 after hitting two back-to-back aces on his own service.
An underwhelming final
By the third set little hope was shared for the crowd’s favourite.
Nadal had been left bewildered by his opponent in what many of the crowd would have seen as a disappointingly one-sided final.
The number one seed Djokovic eventually found himself with two match points on the Nadal serve.
After sending a backhand long on the first, Nadal then hit a shot of his own long on the second, seeing Djokovic’s hands raise to the air and embrace the impressive victory.
“I am speechless.”
After one of his most impressive performances to date, Djokovic reflected on the past year of his career in his on-court victory interview.
The Serb said: “To be standing here now in front of you today, managing to win this title and three out of four Grand Slams is truly amazing. I am truly speechless.”
Djokovic is now only two slams behind Nadal’s 17, and five behind Federer’s 20.
At 31 years of age, one would assume that if the Serbian can stay fit then he could well pass both of them.
Nadal has struggled to win Grand Slams off of clay, whereas Federer is now 37 years old and presumably has less slams left than the current world-number one.
This will definitely not be an easy task however, with the likes of Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas rising through the ranks and threatening to replace the current Grand Slam winning generation.
Despite the final loss Nadal can look positively on his two weeks in Melbourne, which saw an admirable straight sets victories against the young Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The Greek was fresh off topping 2018 champion Roger Federer.
“Even if it tonight was not my night, for me it is so important to be where I am today,” said the Spaniard, referring to the battles he faced with injuries at the end of last year.
The next Grand Slam is in May in Paris. Nadal will be expected to win as always.
The 32-year-old has won the title eleven times on the clay now, three more than anyone else.
Swede Robin Soderling and Djokovic himself are the only two men to have ever stopped Rafa on the path to the crown.
And the Serbian will look to stop him then too, in his quest for immortality.