Djokovic completes historic Open hat-trick

By Darren Walton, Darren Walton is a Roar Guru

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    Tennis ironman Novak Djokovic has etched his name in the history books with a bruising four-set Australian Open final triumph over Andy Murray.

    The world No.1 wore down Murray 6-7 (2-7) 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 6-2 in a three-hour, 40-minute war of attrition to become the first man to complete an Australian Open hat-trick in the 45-year professional era.

    Only two other men, American Jack Crawford (1931-33) and Australian Roy Emerson (1963-67), have won three or more consecutive Australian championships.

    Djokovic’s victory avenged his five-set final loss to Murray at last year’s US Open and drew the Serb level on the all-time grand slam leaderboard with modern-day greats Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg with six career majors.

    The 25-year-old’s fourth Open crown also matched the record of Roger Federer and Andre Agassi, who fittingly was on hand to present the trophies to the two final combatants at Rod Laver Arena on Sunday night.

    “What a joy. It’s an incredible feeling winning this trophy once more,” Djokovic said.

    “It’s definitely my favourite grand slam. I love this court.”

    Murray had been eyeing his own slice of history as the first man ever to hold the Olympic, US Open and Australian Open titles simultaneously – but instead suffered his fifth defeat in six grand slam finals.

    But he was gracious in defeat.

    “Novak, his record here is incredible. Very few people have been able to do what he’s done here and he’s a well-deserved champion,” said Murray, runner-up in Melbourne in 2010, 2011 and now again.

    After missing a real chance to claim a two-sets-to-love advantage, the Scot appeared to suffer a hamstring injury – possibly scar tissue from his sapping five-set semi-final win over Federer 48 hours earlier – and was unable to match the supreme physical conditioning of his great rival.

    Last year’s famous final between Djokovic and Rafael Nadal was the longest in grand slam history, an epic stretching five hours, 53 minutes and finishing at almost two o’clock Monday morning.

    And with the past two major meetings between Djokovic and Murray both lasting almost five hours as well, a repeat of the 2012 title marathon looked a possibility for more than two sets as the baseline gladiators slugged it out relentlessly from the back court.

    Djokovic had five break-point chances in the opening set, including four after having Murray at love-40 in the seventh game, but his inability to convert proved costly.

    Murray forced a tiebreaker and Djokovic handed it to the Scot with six unforced errors.

    On a roll, Murray won 10 straight points – and 17 of 19 – to surge ahead 1-0 in the second set and suddenly have Djokovic under extreme pressure at love-40.

    But the Serb dug deep to save and the service hold proved critical as the second set almost inevitably was decided almost an hour later in another tiebreaker.

    On this occasion, it was Murray who lost his nerve, the third seed double-faulting after a feather blew onto the court to gift Djokovic the vital mini-break.

    The top seed needed no second invitation back into the match and was on level terms after two hours, 13 minutes, and then delivered a hammer blow in the eighth game of the third set.

    After the pair shared 31 straight service holds, Djokovic pressed to break Murray for 5-3 and closed out the set to be in front for the first time all match after two hours and 54 minutes.

    Djokovic could smell blood when he broke Murray for a 2-1 lead in the fourth set and moved in for the kill.

    All hope was lost for Murray when he double-faulted to hand Djovokic the decisive double break for 4-1 and the Serb triumphed on his first match point when a weary Murray netted a backhand.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • January 28th 2013 @ 4:59am
      Johnno said | January 28th 2013 @ 4:59am | ! Report

      What a player Novak Djokovic is. Born May 22, 1987 , 25 years of age now 26 this year, in his prime.

      6 grand slam wins, a french open runner up on clay(Sampras only made semi final), and a Davis Cup title in 2010, .

      He has made a French open final, just as Mcenroe did, Sampras never made a French open final. If he can win the French this year, he for mine is well and truly challenging Mcenroe, Nadal, Federer,Sampras,Bjorg.

      He has surpassed all the other players except those above, I can think of since 1970. I am not including Laver, as he never won a slam in the 0’s despite being on the circuit.
      I’d say Novak despite, Agassi winning on all 4 surfaces, has overtaken Agassi now. Pete Sampras never won the French only made the semi-final, but 9 times out of 10 most people Say Sampras was better.

      So my rankings since 1970 :

      1)Mcenroe the aritst and top goat “Mcenroe didn’t do much after 1984, but had some marriage breakdown and personal issues, and burn out that really afferected him, he was never the same player after 1984. Top goat, he was John Mcenroe

      2)Nadal Has won all 4 grand slams and all the surfaces(clay,hardcourt,grass) leads Fed 6-2 in grand slam finals, and beaten Fed on both Fed’s best surfaces, grass and hardcourt. Never lost to Fed on clay ,Nadal’s best surface. Hard to argue with those stats
      And Nadal 2008 Olympic Gold Medal .
      And 4 Davis cup titles (2004,2008,2009,2011)

      3)Federer, . I believe Sampras on grass is the best grass player ever, but all round on all 3 surfaces, Federer gets Sampras especially clay. Federer Olympic silver medal. 2012.

      4)Sampras

      5) Bjorg, talent wise only 2nd to Mcenroe, but he phased out due to burn out and personal issues , may of done even more

      6)Novak for now but he will leapfrog higher if he wins the french or makes 1 or 2 more French open finals. And as Jim Courier said, the best defensive tennis player ever. Novak is one of only 6 men to win at least 3 majors in a calendar year in 2011.
      And statically Novak had the best year ever in Men’s tennis in the open era since 1970(10 titles all year, 3 of them grand slams, won 70, lost 6, a 92% winning statistic. 2006 Federer had a 94% statistic, but Fed didn’t have to deal with Nadal in his prime, . Novak still had to deal with Nadal in his prime, and Fed very close to his prime. And a developing Andy Murray, and guys like Tsonga, and Del-potro.

      7)Jimmy Connors born 1952 won 3 grand slams in 1974, and may of won French in 1974 too, but missed the open after being banned by signing with the world tennis gourd , a rebel tennis pro tour group. He never won the French , Bjorg cam on the scene and carved up.
      8)Andre Agassi

      9)Mats Willander Awsome Davis cup player amazing record when Davis Cup was important, , and a real 5th set specialist just about the best ever in the 5th set.

      A 17 yr old Mats wilander pushed Mcenroe in 1982 to a 6hr 20 minute Davis cup epic match, losing in 5 sets. Not a bad effort for a 17yr old VS the great Mcenroe.. An Amazing effort.

      He also wore down Pat Cash, and Lendl in 5, So come 5th set time, you had to put in an awesome effort if you wanted to beat Mats Wilander in the 5th set. Like ,Federer,Novak, and Nadal ,a 5th set specialist.

      An Amazing effort. Won his 1st grand slam as a 17 yr old at French open. And won 3 grand slams in 1 year in 1988, only 1 of 6 players to do so, and world no 1 too, and won a grand slam on all 3 surfaces. OZ open which he won in 84 and 88, in 1984 it was at Kooyong on grass. So an all surface player.

      10)Stefan Edberg

      Just ahead of Boris Becker and Lendl:

      Leads Becker 3-1 in grand slam matches-better on clay in general, beating Becker in semi-final to make 1989 French open final vs a 17 yr old Micheal Chang youngest man to win a grand slam, where he lost in 5 epic sets.

      -And Leads Becker 2-1 in Grand slam finals all played on grass Becker and Edberg’s best surface

      Leads Lendl in the head to head 14-13.
      Grand slam matches : Edberg 5-4

      And the only grand slam final they met in., Lendl won, But a huge But?

      – Was at 1990 OZ open. I remember watching it.was in great form, took the 1st set 6-4, lost the 2nd set in tie-break, but was really struggling with injury a torn stomach muscle and was down 5-2 in 3rd as the stomach muscle rendered him useless by the 3rd set, so was in command of match, and most likely would of won as was playing the better tennis.

      -And in grand slam tennis Leads head to head 5-4 :

      -So that’s my top 10.

      Novak is a real chance at winning a French open and moving into the top all time 5 players for mine. A real star.

      • January 28th 2013 @ 5:21am
        Johnno said | January 28th 2013 @ 5:21am | ! Report

        On Nadal, clay, Federer has never beaten Nadal on clay at the French open . Nadal leads 18-10 head to head matches.

        Grand Slam finals Nadal 6-2 over Fed. But the fact that Nadal is so much closer ranked to Fed on his 2 best surfaces, and leads Feds overall too on his best surfaces in Grand slam finals excluding clay, further shows the statistical record Nadal has over Fed.

        Grand Slam finals: Djokovic 3–2 Nadal. So Djokovic is certainly now putting pressure on that top 5 .

        Grand slam matches Federer-Djokervic .Fed 6-5 . But Fed has lost twice to Novak in 5 sets. Fed has never beaten Novak when it’s gone to 5 sets ,. Novak 2-0 .

        Only 1 Grand Slam Final Fed VS Novak have played, was at French 2007 US open, with Fed at peak of his powers . But Novak was only 21, and not the player he is today, Novak had not even won a grand slam , it was Novak’s 1st grand slam final.

        So Novak is closing in on the top 5 , very closely indeed. And if he can win at the French open, he will probably push Bjorg out of my top 5.

      • January 29th 2013 @ 11:53am
        Frankie Hughes said | January 29th 2013 @ 11:53am | ! Report

        You talk some rubbish don’t you?

        Djokovic with 6 Majors is marginally better than Edberg but not as great as Becker.

        Yes Becker also has 6 Majors, but he has 3 world tour finals victories.

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      January 28th 2013 @ 6:53pm
      Nick Jungfer said | January 28th 2013 @ 6:53pm | ! Report

      Andy Murray, the poor guy, mightve only been a few times seems like I’ve seen him looseso many grand slam finals.

      • January 29th 2013 @ 11:49am
        Frankie Hughes said | January 29th 2013 @ 11:49am | ! Report

        Murray’s lost 5 finals now, but he’s dealing with it better now.

        After losing at Wimbledon he could’ve lost it mentally, but he won the US Open.

        He’s gonna win another 2 Majors.

    • January 30th 2013 @ 1:30am
      Johnno said | January 30th 2013 @ 1:30am | ! Report

      Well Frankie Hughes I want to hear your top 10. What is your top ten men’s since 1970.

      • January 31st 2013 @ 1:33pm
        Frankie Hughes said | January 31st 2013 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

        In no particular order Johnno

        Federer
        Nadal
        Sampras
        Borg
        Becker
        Agassi
        Wilander
        McEnroe
        Lendl
        Connors

        Djokovic is aimed by slowed down courts. He’d be in my top 20

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