Nadal keeps heavy Australian loss to Djokovic in perspective


Spain's Rafael Nadal, right, congratulates Serbia's Novak Djokovic after Djokovic won the men's singles final at the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019.

World number one Novak Djokovic secured a record seventh Australian Open title and third consecutive Grand Slam crown as he produced a near-perfect display to dispatch Rafael Nadal in straight sets in Melbourne. As Nadal discovered on Sunday, the only player capable of stopping Novak Djokovic right now is Novak Djokovic.

Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal: 52 Grand Slams and counting.

But taking into consideration how the Serb demolished Nadal - traditionally his biggest rival - one can certainly understand why the query came.

It was a greater humbling than even the quarter-finals of the 2015 French Open, when Djokovic thrashed Nadal 7-5 6-3 6-1 to end his six-year winning streak at his favorite claycourt tournament. "It's awesome. Obviously back-to-back semifinals and finals to I think make 15 unforced errors in total in tow match is pleasantly surprising to myself as well".

One thing is certain: the G.O.A.T. conversation will roll on endlessly while Federer-Nadal-Djokovic are still playing and for the most part, we should just feel blessed that we got to witness this exceptional, unprecedented era of tennis.

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It follows triumphs at Wimbledon and the US Open previous year and has earned him the chance to aim for his second "Djoker slam" - holding all four major titles simultaneously - at the French Open, starting on May 26.

Then there were his injury woes nearly 12 months ago to the day when the Serbian, about to undergo elbow surgery, was left contemplating his tennis mortality. I would never change anything if I could turn back time because things are just the way they should be. Djokovic will go to Paris in May for the French Open seeking to become the only man in the Open Era to win all four majors twice, and with victory would hold all four majors at the same time for the second time in his career.

It will be the 53rd meeting two giants of the games and their eighth in the final of a Grand Slam.

Djokovic captured the first of his majors in Melbourne in 2008, beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, but it was three years before he added his second. Federer is 37, and for what it's worth, he has won four Slams since turning 31.

"People were talking about (me) being No. 1 if I win this tournament".

The win took him past Roy Emerson and Roger Federer on six Australian Open wins.

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With his 15th major title, Djokovic grabbed sole possession of third place on the all-time list, passing Pete Sampras.

But for the two men, the battle of wills, strokes, lungs and heart appears to matter more than anything.

"Obviously I have to work on my clay court game a bit more, more specifically than I have in the last season..." I always believe I can play this way, visualise myself playing this way.

"So I definitely needed a good start, because we both were playing well coming into the match".

A centre court crowd that remembered the titanic 2012 decider, when Djokovic beat Nadal in a record five hours and 53 minutes, was quickly subdued by the Serb's total dominance. It took him the longest to capture a win on the clay court, and he has just one championship at Roland-Garros.

"I have been going through tough moments".

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"Not impossible, but highly unlikely", Djokovic said.