Melbourne Park is now Novak Djokovic’s backyard. The love affair, which started in 2008, is still going strong. Another final, another memorable match, another trophy — it only gets bigger and better for Djokovic Down Under.
Yes, Andy Murray did get on his nerves, making him earn every point on Sunday, but Djoko being Djoko ensured it was just a matter of time before he completed the formalities and retained his Australian Open title.
In an era when tennis used to revolve around Federer and Nadal, Djokovic arrived as the ‘intruder’. He proved to be a breath of fresh air and played a vital role in breaking the duopoly. As John McEnroe once said, “Novak has taken tennis to new heights.” If Federer and Nadal raised the bar of the sport, Djoko pushed it further quite a few notches.
The 25-year-old Serb is only six Grand Slams old, but he is slowly — and steadily — making his way into the history books. It’s still premature to call him a ‘great’, but Djoko has ensured the world took notice of his achievements, and antics!
And it all started with that 41-match unbeaten streak in 2011. In what was a landmark year for Djokovic, the World No 1 went about slaying anyone and everyone who came in his way, winning every Grand Slam but the French Open. He stamped his authority on every court he set foot on, leaving everybody awe-struck.
He may not have Federer’s grace or Nadal’s raw power, but he definitely has the game to give these players a run for their money.
Djokovic may probably never make it to the pantheon of greats but at 25, with at least five years of top-level tennis left in him, he will surely be the one to watch out — and fear — for.
From being an also-ran, Djokovic has transformed himself into a champion. And if he continues to play like this, then the others stand little chance.
The No 1 ranking is his to lose but for now, it’s one down, three more to go!