Melbourne: Novak Djokovic came up with his best tennis when it mattered most to reassert his Grand Slam dominance over Andy Murray on Sunday and become the first man to win three successive Australian Open titles in the professional era.
The Serbian world No. 1 played 171 minutes of cat and mouse with his British rival before pouncing when the US Open champion blinked and racing away to a 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory.
There was no ripping off of the shirt and no victory roar like Rod Laver Arena witnessed last year, but there was no disguising Djokovic’s delight at claiming a fourth title at Melbourne Park.
“What a joy, it’s an incredible feeling to win this trophy again. This is definitely my favourite Grand Slam. I love this tournament. I love this court,” said Djokovic, who lost to Murray at Flushing Meadows in September.
“Every tournament, especially the major tournaments, is very special (but) winning it three in a row, it’s incredible.”
For Murray, hampered by a badly blistered toe, distracted at a key moment by a white feather and physically compromised by his four-hour semi-final against Federer, it was a third final defeat in four years in Australia. The Scot took some solace from the fact that this match was a much tighter affair than his defeats by Federer in 2010 and Djokovic in 2011.
“There’s going to be some obvious reasons for me feeling a little bit better,” said Murray,. “The last few months have been the best tennis of my life. I made the Wimbledon final, won the Olympics, won the US Open. I was close here as well. It was close.” (Reuters)