World No. 1 Novak Djokovic overcame his own physical fatigue on Sunday evening in Melbourne to topple one of his top rivals Andy Murray to become the first five-time Australian Open men’s singles champion in the Open Era.
Djokovic, who is now one title away from equalling Roy Emerson’s tennis record of six titles Down Under, defeated Murray in four sets 7-6(5), 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-0 for the third time in a final on Rod Laver Arena in a match that lasted 3 hours and 39 minutes.
With his win, it was only right that Emerson himself handed Djokovic the trophy. It marked the Serb’s eighth overall Grand Slam trophy, which puts him alongside tennis greats such as Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, and Fred Perry.
“I’m so privileged and honoured and grateful to be standing here for the fifth time, to be in an elite group of players, with legends of our sport out here watching,”
This is also the third time that Djokovic has stopped Murray from claiming the Australian Open title. They met in the 2011 and 2013 finals, both of which Djokovic won. Murray also took part in another final in Melbourne, one that he lost to Roger Federer in 2010, which makes him the first four-time runner-up at the Aussie Open without winning the title.
“It’s been my most consistent Grand Slam throughout my career, I just haven’t been able to win it,” said Murray in his runner-up speech. “We put in a lot of hard work to try and get back in this position after what was a difficult year last year. Unfortunately, we couldn’t quite do it tonight, but I’m a little bit closer than I was a few months ago and we’ll keep working hard to try and get there. I’ll try and come back next year and have a slightly different outcome in the final.”