Novak’s missing link will set off chain reaction
Newly re-crowned Australian champion Novak Djokovic found the missing link in his ability chain during the tense five set victory over Stanislas Wawrinka in the fourth round.
Djokovic had no right to beat Switzerland’s second favourite son, who was by far the better player on the night.
But Djokovic won against all odds.
Whatever form that link took, it surfaced again in the final.
In the latter part of the first set tie-breaker in favour of Andy Murray and the first two games of the second set, Murray won 17 of 20 points and was well in command.
The Scot was all set to take a vital two sets to love lead with 0/40 on Djokovic’s serve.
Surface that link.
From 0/40, Djokovic held serve after two deuces and went on to take the second set in another tie- breaker.
Murray never really got over seemingly blowing that 2-0 lead, as Djokovic cruised home, 6-3, 6-2 to clinch his fourth Australian Open title, his third in succession.
Australian legend Roy Emerson was the last to achieve the feat in 1963-64-65 and went on to stretch it to five on the trot in 1966-67.
There is nothing to say Djokovic won’t tread the same path now that he has found the missing link. And it will hold him in good stead as he seeks his first French Open crown – his Achilles heel.
Rafael Nadal, seven time champion at Roland Garros, makes his return from injury next month.
But the king of clay will be well short of match play to hope to succeed against Djokovic, Murray and Roger Federer this year.
I predict Novak Djokovic will become the first man to claim the coveted and hard to convert Grand Slam since Rod Laver in 1969.
The once missing link will be the difference.
We are looking at arguably the most complete tennis player in the history of the sport. And he will get even better.