King of Melbourne: Djokovic wins another Australian Open

Novak Djokovic tied Roy Emerson with a record six Australian Open titles when he beat Andy Murray 6-1, 7-5, 7-6(3) in Sunday night’s final. Djokovic has now won this tournament five times in the last six years after triumphing in two hours and 53 minutes.

The world No. 1 cruised through the first set with the loss of just one game. He also went ahead by a quick break in the second. That’s when Murray finally made a match of it to keep the Rod Laver Arena crowd entertained. The second-seeded Scot broke back en route to a 5-5 tie before cracking from 40-0 up in the 11th game.

“The end of the second set, obviously the game I lost 40-love up, was a tough one,” Murray lamented. “Maybe I could have nicked that set. I was starting to have quite a lot of opportunities in the second. I had a few chances there. Then obviously in the third I felt like towards the end of the set, after I got the break back again, that I was creating a few chances.”

Murray also broke back in the third, but he could not force a fourth. After improbably playing his way into a tiebreaker, the Scot ran out of gas–perhaps both mentally and physically. He double-faulted on the first point and did the same at 1-4 to all but end his chances. Murray saved two championship points on serve at 1-6 and 2-6, but Djokovic clinched victory at 6-3 with his seventh ace.

Absurd backhand winner by Djokovic:

Highlights:

“He definitely made me work,” the winner said of Murray. “There were a lot of long rallies, long exchanges. We were both breathing heavily towards the end of the second and the third set. But that’s what you expect.”

In addition to tying Emerson, Djokovic also equaled Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver with 11 Grand Slam titles overall.

“Every Grand Slam title is very significant in its own way,” Djokovic commented. “Here, because of the fact that I managed to make history tonight and equal Roy Emerson’s six Australian Open titles. Very honored to be mentioned alongside legends of our sport by Bjorn Borg, Rod Laver, win as many Grand Slams as they did. You know, I can’t lie and say I didn’t think about it. Of course it was in back of my mind. Coming into the court I knew that I have a chance to make the history.”

Murray, meanwhile, is now a five-time Aussie Open runner-up.

101 Comments on King of Melbourne: Djokovic wins another Australian Open

  1. Murray clearly not in Novak’s league. Instead of forcing errors out of Movak, Murray himself made all the errors in inappropriate times esp during the TB in the third set.

    Novak vs Murray H2H is now 22-9, fast approaching Rafa/Fed’s 23-11. Its incredible that just not too long ago, their H2H was still close at 10 or 11 to 8.

  2. The ROS and defending have been excellent and now he’s improved the serve as well. It’s just Nole’s time until a big hitter or on-fire youngster sneaks one in.

  3. That’s the thing about Raonic. He’s similar to Nishi in that way. Both of these guys have had their share of injuries so far in their careers. That may be the thing that derails them from their goals. We will have to wait and see.

    I still also think that neither of these young guys is as fit as the top players.

      • yeah, good question…Rafa is the top player, isn’t he? 🙂 Stan as well and he was ruthlessly beaten by…MILOS! Nishi in my view made more competitive match against Nole than Andy yesterday…speaking of TOP players…LOL…

  4. Top players
    Novak
    Stan-he can beat Novak
    Federer I just put in the same category as Ferrer, “gatekeepers”, they will stop someone from getting through, but won’t be able to win.
    The rest are just trying to do get as far as they can before meeting Novak

  5. Frankly Andy’s heart was never in that match – as his presence at Jamie’s match rather suggested.. It was so far below his best level it was laughable – even he was laughing after some of his crassest errors. At least he stayed to play the final rather than giving Djokovic a walkover ala the 2014 WTF. It would be too strong to suggest he tanked but it was barely 5/10 for effort from Murray.

    • ed, 11:17 PM,

      I agree with you. Andy was just way bellow his level…and that was the main reason why I debated about Andy not being at his best…this was not Andy we would have liked to see…it showed in the semis as well…and I still stand behind my opinion on Andy easily being distracted with matters other than tennis thus missing so many opportunities in his career…he should be valued higher than Wawa although they both own 2 GSs…I honestly expected Andy to win at least 2 more slams after his 2013 success…

      well, let’s see if him becoming a dad will determine this one last push for Andy to win Wimby or USO this year…

  6. I’m curious as to why nobody is at their best when they play Nole and yet play beyond their best when they face Rafa.

    Some say it has to do with meal tickets.

    If so, Rafa now has a wooden spoon to feed them with.

    #MealTicketsAreEverywhere
    #VerdascoYouSerious?

    • harsh critique coming from your mouth when Rafa is concerned…it’s almost as you are forgetting how much Rafa has achieved in his lifetime and you only focusing on his failures…with you here all fedfans and nolefans look like amateurs in criticizing Rafa… 🙁

      “how we judge others is how we judge ourselves”…

      I hope we will all be here to rub it in your face next time Rafa wins GS! (hopefully RG 2016!) 🙂

      Vamos Rafa!

      • Wasn’t critiquing Rafa at all.

        Just critiquing blind fan bias not giving credit where credit is due. (which is not to be confused with telling others what they should and shouldn’t post a la some genuinely self righteous Rafans here. No tennis comments should be unwelcomed here as long as they don’t violate site rules.)

        As far as me forgetting Rafa’s achievements, I’m one of the few here that considers Rafa to be the best of all time. I ask you not to forget that when questioning who I am a fan of.

        I will happily accept all accusations and be a target to any barbs if it means that Rafa wins RG this year.

        But I doubt that his return to such glory can occur so soon as progress is still quite slow in his camp.

        • @ hawkeye 2:54 PM,

          I don’t question anyone’s loyalty as a fan here and TBH I don’t really care! 🙂 People are entitled to love any sport and to be a fan of any sportsman…

          your approach to this whole “issue” just happens to be different than mine…I wish I could implement some humour on this devastating situation for Rafa but I can’t do it as it suddenly hurts so bad and I prefer being positive…it doesn’t mean I am overly optimistic about Rafa, cause I am not…I am very well aware of the danger Rafa may get into if not 100% ready, with the upcoming clay season and the enormous pressure being on him and all eyes on him…poor fellow…I am so worried about him…

          Gosh, I hope you are proved wrong about Rafa’s progress…

    • Bit like what happened to Federer post 2006. Once Rafa and Andy proved it could be done (they were the only two players to beat Federer that year) others were to follow in their footsteps.

      Right now Djokovic is riding high – almost drunk on his own sense of invincibility – and there is still no clear contender to break his winning streak.

      Frankly I’m not looking forward one little bit to the rest of 2016 🙁

      • I don’t get the sense that Novak is drunk on his own invincibility. You know, if it was Rafa winning the way Novak is now, we would be celebrating and singing his praises. I wish it was Rafa winning like that now. But there is a different reality. I just refuse to go after Novak because he is winning in rafa’s absence.

      • On the contrary, it seems that he is focussed on keeping a level head.

        Q. It’s the first month of the year. You’ve already had convincing wins over your three biggest rivals in your career. Do you allow yourself in your mind to acknowledge that perhaps you’ve separated yourself from them a bit at the moment?
        NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don’t want to allow myself to be in that frame of mind. Because if I do, the person becomes too arrogant and thinks that he’s a higher being or better than everybody else. You can get a big slap from karma very soon. I don’t want that.

        I try to, you know, still follow the same kind of lifestyle and routine, you know, things that I’ve been doing all these years that have been helping me to get to where I am. I know being humble and being discreetly — still of course satisfied and proud of what you’ve achieved, but discreetly doing that.

        Of course staying respectful to all my opponents and my colleagues and to this sport is a key to continue on and maintain this level of success and performance. I hope. This is kind of approach to help me to get to where I am. I don’t want to step away from it.

        • Granted he doesn’t have the overt sense of entitlement that Federer displayed during his reign at the top but his body language is in sharp contrast to the smooth answers he gives to the press. He has been well groomed by his PR people. I’ve noticed too that his team have also toned down their excessive behaviour during his matches.

          Don’t get me wrong. My antipathy doesn’t stop me admiring what he has achieved and the difficulties he has overcome. I recognised 10 years ago when I first saw him at RG that he was the person most likely to challenge Rafa’s supremacy. I just dont enjoy seeing it happen.

      • I’m looking forward to this year and next.

        I hope that any slam Rafa can’t win, Nole does.

        That way, 17 will be tied no later than French Open 2018 and likely much sooner.

        #DifferentStrokesForDifferentFolks

  7. I’m looking forward to see Rafa on clay and see whether 2016 will turn out to be closer to 2013 rather than to 2015.

    I think he will prove that clay is where he will start to win again and builds his season to be inside top 3 or 4 not unlike his other best seasons.

    I hope to see Rafa hitting a flatter more penetrating CC FH and BH and a good to great BHDTL too. Of course a much improved serve with more varieties and precise placements including the ones down the T.

    I think and believe that only a top form Rafa and top form Stan could stop Novak in 3 of the 4 slams. At Wimbledon, unless a top form Murray, or some big server/big hitter who is/are in the zone meet him there, its more than likely that Novak would win there again.

    Talking about Wimbledon, Novak was able to outgrind his dangerous opponents so often – Delpo in 2013; Cilic in 2014; Anderson in 2015 – will he do it again in 2016? Where’s Kygrios and Raonic or even Brown? Time for him to meet at least one of them at Wimbledon.

    • Kyrgios could be dangerous. Brown would be crap against him. Raonic can only meet him in the later stages but I hope it happens. Even getting isner on grass on a bad day can cost anyone big time.

      • Dont think Brown is crap on grass; you cant compare Brown on slow HC vs Brown on grass. Furthermore, Novak may meet him in the early rounds when Novak is still finding his footing on grass.

        If you watch Novak enough, you would have noticed that unlike Fed or Rafa, Novak needs more time to adjust to clay and grass, I mean the footwork, that may explain why Novak usually looks more vulnerable in the early rounds on these surfaces.

        • Rafa also needs more time on grass but against for yes for different reasons.

          Browmn is not crap on grass but don’t think he can do anything to Novak in spite of novak’s vulnerability in earlier rounds.
          Kyrgios could be pretty dangerous though if he gets him in the early stages.

  8. The problem with Brown is he can only play one decent match per tournament so he will forever be just a journeyman. I wonder how could a player like him survive all these years with not much prize money earned.

    Coming back to Rafa, I wonder when then we at least can see that Rafa of Abu Dhabi appearing in the main tour. Why so much difference from exho to atp tour? He was already struggling in Doha vs relatively unknown opponents and was worse at the slam (AO).

    Why a champion like him is so unsure of himself? After one full year of not having any injury, surly its not doubting of his body that causes him anxiety or nerveousness? Then why the difference of beating a big serving Raonic comfortably and then struggled against lesser opponents??

    He was playing well too during IPTL so its not his game thats the problem. Maybe Rafa cant take pressure anymore and hence his mental collapse, then my question is: what’s he playing for right now?

    Perhaps clay may help him. He’ll be 31 next year so if he’s still playing, maybe just concentrate on playing on clay and skip others as he can pick and choose what he wants to play by then, like Fed is doing now.

    I really hope that Rafa can at least win the clay Masters and the FO again so that he will end his career on a high note.

    • —he [Rafa] can pick and choose what he wants to play by then, like Fed is doing now—
      ===
      .
      In 2014, Fed (32 -33 years old) skipped only the Madrid Masters (and that because of the birth of his twin boys).
      In 2015, Fed skipped only 2 Masters: Miami & Montreal.

          • The rule is such that when a player is past 31, be in the tour for 12 years or more and has played >600 matches, he can pick and choose any tournament(s) to play or to skip.

            Rafa by 2017 or 2018 should be able to do so, as long as he’s not bothered by the rankings.

            • Luckystar (AT 2:23 PM)
              The ATP Rulebook, page 12:

              3) 30 years of age (as of 1 January of the commitment year). ¤¤

              But I didn’t talk about rules. My point is that Rafa shouldn’t be recommended to do what Fed, who is 5 years older, is doing.

            • Nah, the decision is his, not mine. I’m just thinking about that if he fails badly on grass and HCs like in 2015, that’s the alternative route for him unless he doesnt mind the frustation of losing early should that trend continue…

            • Ricky (AT 4:16 PM),

              It’s possible to skip all 9 Masters.

              The ATP Rulebook, page 12:
              ¤¤ 1.08 Reduction of ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Commitment
              A. A player’s number of ATP World Tour Masters 1000 commitment tournaments shall be reduced by one (1) tournament for reaching each of the following milestones:
              1)…
              2)…
              3)…
              If all three (3) conditions are met then the player has a COMPLETE exemption from the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 player commitment.

              B. A player who is eligible for a reduction of his ATP World Tour Masters 1000 commitment
              tournaments must be in good standing with the ATP in order to receive a reduction…¤¤

            • —Rafa won’t be eligible for this until 2018.
              Hope this helps.—(AT 4:32 PM)
              ===
              .
              Until 2017. No reason for hoping this helps.

    • Clay by itself is not the solution.

      An anxiety problem is not logical. On the contrary, it is quite the opposite.

      I think he plays because he’s not a quitter and he is willing to suffer a lot more before it takes him down.

      • i hope people aren’t pinning all their hopes on the clay. yes it is rafa’s best surface but he will be under huge pressure to do well during the clay season and that could have a negative impact.
        he’s also always very very nervous in the early rounds of RG…this year, after a string of early losses in slams the pressure on him will be awful. if he runs into someone like foggy he could go out early.

          • We’re not talking about him concentrating only on clay this year but when he’s eligible to skip any tournament he wishes. What pressure would he have by then? Just concentrates on playing and winning on clay whilst other players have to slug it out on the other surfaces as well. If he cant even do that but feels pressurized then its really time for him to quit and perhaps just plays in exhos!

            • Luckystar (AT 4:01 PM),
              —when he’s eligible to skip any tournament he wishes—
              ===
              .
              I haven’t seen any exceptions to this rule: ¤¤The commitment for the commitment player is…and four (4)ATP World Tour 500 tournaments, one (1) of which must be held following the US Open.¤¤

        • Amy,

          Unfortunately, I think you are right. We used to say that once Rafa got back on clay, everything would be fine. But Rafa is going through something that we have not seen. He is going out early now in slams, even finally losing in the quarterfinals last year at RG. We are in uncharted waters, so it’s hard to know what to expect.

        • Amy gets it.

          Clay comes with heightened expectations and therefore heightened pressure.

          I think he’ll fare ok in the clay 250s but could falter in either final because of this.

          • nny and hawks…
            the pressure at rg this year is going to be terrible!! he will need a lot of luck with the draw in the early rounds..if he can get through those then he can start to relax a bit and play his game…

            • Well if he does well at the clay Masters then the pressure wont be that great; I mean you think the pressure will be greater than what he had in 2015 during the clay season?

              If he cant even win a title at a 250 clay event, then nobody would expect him to win anything clay or non clay. He would probably give up hope on winning the FO and may even play more freely.

              If not winning at least a 250 clay event, or even after winning a clay Masters event and he’s still so anxious or nervous at the FO, then what hope has he got?

            • he was very nervous in the early rounds in 2013 and came in on back to back masters wins in madrid and rome. he didn’t play well against foggy but foggy had no belief to take advantage…that just won’t be the case now..players now see him as beatable.
              if he was nervous then i see no reason as to why even if he wins masters it will be any different now given he’s going in on a sequence of early losses in slams. that is bound to affect him.

          • So you saying he would fare worse than in 2015 where he reached SF of one (Rio) and won at BA? Is that what you mean? Now that’s really being negative or way too pessimistic!

            • what!?? i wasn’t saying that! just saying that although i think he will do better than last year that clay isn’t a magic fix!
              my main point was about rg anyway.

            • Win or not he’s still nervous and that’s his style anyway. If he gets knock out early because of that then its his own fault. What’s the point of worrying then when we wont be able to help?

              I’m just hopeful that he can make use of the smaller events to regain some confidence but if he’s still so nervous and loses, then its his own fault. I’ll be pissed and should he decide to quit then so be it. If he chooses to continue despite all the losses, then I’ll not expect anything but assume that he’s having the same mentality as Fed, ie enjoys playing regardless of wins or losses!

            • Fed’s mentality and level/results cannot be compared to Rafa’s ATM. Fed’s 2013 perhaps.

              Pressure is usually high for Rafa these days regardless of circumstance, with a few exceptions.

              #ApplesAndOranges

            • Hawkeye misses the point.

              I’m talking of my own expectations or rather feelings when he chooses to continue playing despite his continual losses. If he doesnt quit that means he still enjoys playing and competing, imo.

  9. Dustin Brown is 2-2 vs Top 10 career on grass.

    0-2 if you don’t count Rafa.

    Both Nishi and Ferrer beat him in straight sets.

    Brown is 0-5 in sets against them and 5-1 vs Rafa.

    Brown is 2-0 on grass vs Rafa and 1-10 vs Top 50 on grass besides Rafa. He beat Sam Querrey.

    Not a real threat.

      • Well based on past performance, on grass it would be 100% of the time vs this Rafa and 9% of the time vs the rest of the top 50.

        You see Lucky, if you’ve been following the expert analysis from the pundits here, it all has to do with meal tickets.

        Why should Brown try against any other player he’s met in the Top 50 on grass when he can just relax and save his energy for the times he plays Rafa where he can have a veritable All-You-Can-Eat Smörgåsbord Buffet!!!

    • Amy,

      Yes, I get your point. It’s not negativity, it’s being realistic. We cannot assume that clay will magically solve Rafa’s problems.

  10. If the mental aspect of rafa’s game is gone, then I don’t know what can be done. Everyone has their ideas about what is going on with Rafa and how it can be fixed. What if it’s something like what happened to Borg, where he was no longer able to compete and lost the will to win? What if that’s gone? We at least have to consider the possibility.

    This has been going on for some time now. We thought there was progress in the closing months of last year, but then we saw another early exit in a slam.

    Rafa seems to be more okay with losing these days. I remember when he hated losing to Novak. Now he doesn’t seem as upset. He says things like – I have nothing to prove anymore.

    This is what gives me pause.

    • nny, yeah you know that i think his reactions to his losses are now very disconcerting. am still not convinced that it is the same situation as with borg. borg wasnt coached by his uncle! rafa really needs outside perspectives and help.

      • Amy,

        I am not saying that it’s like Borg. But it’s something that has crossed my mind. Some think it’s an anxiety thing, others think he needs a new coach. We’ve all discussed our respective ideas and theories.

        Some refuse to discuss it at all and just act as though everything is fine.

        I don’t enjoy seeing Rafa struggle like this, losing to players who aren’t fit to shine his shoes.

        I assume that we will have some answers as we move on to other tournaments.

        I never thought we would be in a place where Rafa was healthy and wasn’t playing well. It really makes me sad.

        • sorry nny, i know that you weren’t saying that. was writing while doing something else so hard to concentrate!! i know where you are coming from: you are just an amazingly passionate rafa fan. kudos to you!!

      • amy (AT 5:07 PM,
        — borg wasnt coached by his uncle! rafa really needs outside perspectives and help.—
        ===
        .
        Conclusion: If Borg had been coached by his uncle, he wouldn’t have retired from tennis at such an early age (26)!

  11. Well why are we worrying about that? If Rafa thinks its time for him to quit then so be it. Its his career and his decision; better to quit and be happy than to continue but filled with frustrations and unhappiness.

    I wish him well in whatever decision(s) that he makes.

    • yeah i agree with that lucky. if it’s not in him to go on then better to recognise it and get out.
      nothing will detract from his legacy and greatness.

    • We all wish him well in whatever decisions he makes.

      If we as fans did not care, then we would not be spending our time discussing it.

      • Care but not to the extent of feeling too sad or upset or even depressed. I’m sure Rafa doesnt want his fans to be so affected by his losses. It will make him sadder if he knows how some of his fans are badly affected.

        He has already won so much and secured his place as the greatest clay court player ever, and he’s already one of the legends of the sport. Like what he has said, he has nothing to prove anymore.

        His game is built on clay so he not beating Novak on the HCs most of the times is normal. He will not dominate the tour the way Fed and Novak dominated but he has already done very well in 2013, 2010 and 2008. Imagine he had the HC game like Fed’s or Novak’s, he would also dominate like them! Or, if the tour is made up of at least 50% clay events!

  12. I am sure Rafa would not want his fans to feel sad about what happens with him. That’s the kind of person he is. But I will be sad if he does retire and goes out without a bang. I always believe that a champion has one more great run in him. I would love to see that happen with Rafa before he hangs up his racket.

  13. Rafa is only 29 years old! He can come back any time soon and play extraordinary tennis if injury free. He has it in himself. One just doesn’t forget to play tennis. These speculations that Rafa may have lost the will to play and win are just ridiculous…

    If Rafa is able to win on clay (his natural surface) he can go ahead and win a couple of more RGs. And I believe that is what he will focus on. Playing Wimby and possibly going out early will make no difference to him. If injury free he can only go up from here. He will be back to winning tourneys on clay very soon I am sure. The pressure is there but not more than before and if Rafa has a proper support by the team of experts around him he will do well.

    And I expect even if Rafa does well during the clay season (wining some or even winning a lot!) he still won’t be the favorite to win RG but it will be Novak instead. So the pressure once again will be on Novak not Rafa!

    The Majorcan may turn up and beat them all on clay…for Novak he will need to be more confident and more secure in his own game but that will come as well…hope then these stories about retirement will stop and we get to read about Rafa’s beautiful tennis instead…

    Vamos TEAM NADAL!!!

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