Australian Open 2019 men's final: Novak Djokovic wins record seventh Australian Open in sweep of Rafael Nadal
Djokovic pulled ahead of Roger Federer and Roy Emerson after the dominant victory
At 31 years old, Novak Djokovic has established himself as the player to beat on the ATP circuit. The No. 1 player in the world claimed his third consecutive Grand Slam title with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 victory against Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open men's final on Sunday, with the sweep also giving Djokovic his seventh career title in Melbourne.
The achievement makes Djokovic the Australian Open's winningest player in history, drawing him ahead of Roy Emerson and Roger Federer. Federer was eliminated by Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Round of 16 after winning the last two Opens on the hard court.
Djokovic put on an utter clinic against Nadal, serving up eight aces to Nadal's three and notching five break points while never having his own serve broken. He won on 81 percent of his first serves, and he somehow won on 84 percent of his second serves. He somehow took a Nadal who had not lost a set all Open coming into the final and made him look completely toothless for the 2 hour and 4 minute duration of the match.
Djokovic now has 15 career Grand Slam wins, after having 12 at this time last year. He's come back from an elbow injury that sidelined him from part of 2017 a better player than ever, and right now the Serbian star looks utterly unbeatable.
Nadal was gracious after the loss, giving Djokovic credit for a dominant performance.
"It's been an emotional two weeks, even if today wasn't my best day," Nadal said after the match, per The Telegraph. "Of course I played someone who played much better than me tonight. It's been a very good two weeks for me. I have had many tough moments, and had to retire from many events. Since the US Open I hadn't played a professional match until the first round here. So even if tonight was not my night it's so important to be where I am tonight, coming back from injury. It will give me good energy, inspiration for what's coming."
Nadal, 32, retired in the US Open semifinals due to pain in his knee, so his greatness in this tournament perhaps flew under the radar a bit. Djokovic, however, simply played "one of the best, if not the best match I've played in a Grand Slam final" in his own words after the match. The last time these two greats played was in Wimbledon, a 5-hour 17-minute thriller that saw Djokovic win in five sets. This match went a little differently.
When it was all said and done, Djokovic had nine unforced errors to Nadal's 28 -- although Nadal said that unforced errors is a bit of misnomer. "I make more mistakes because he pushed more," Nadal said, via Fox Sports. That's all. Is not about being more nervous. I have been normal nerves, like final of Grand Slam. But the things started so quick. He was pushing me to every ball."
Djokovic recognized his own dominance, not to mention how dominant he's been since Wimbledon last year.
Djokovic's next stop will be the French Open. It took him the longest to capture a win on the clay court, and he has just one championship at Roland-Garros. Given how he's been playing and Nadal's ridiculous French Open history (he's an 11-time winner, including the defending champion), we may have another chapter in the rivalry sooner rather than later.
Both players are taking different positives from this match. For Djokovic, of course, it's setting a record for win in Melbourne. For Nadal, it's proving he can still play at a ridiculously high level. Djokovic doesn't appear to be done, and now he can turn his attention to Nadal's 17 Grand Slams and, ultimately, Federer's 20.
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