No. 1 Novak Djokovic cruises to ninth Australian Open title

By Field Level Media
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 16, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in action during his quarter final match against Germany’s Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

Top-seed and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic won his ninth Australian Open men’s singles title in as many finals with a 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in Melbourne, Australia on Sunday.

The 33-year-old Serbian had a relatively easy final after dropping five sets overall in the run-up to the championship match. Those five sets are the most he’s ever lost in any of the 27 Grand Slam finals he’s reached.

“It has been a rollercoaster ride for me especially in the past couple of weeks,” said Djokovic, who dealt with an abdominal injury in a third-round win over Taylor Fritz.

There was also the matter of playing amid the threat of COVID-19.

Read More: Naomi Osaka rolls to fourth Grand Slam title at Australian Open

“There are a lot of mixed feelings about what has happened the last month or so with tennis players coming into Australia,” said Djokovic.

“Look, it wasn’t easy. It was very challenging on many different levels. The (Australian Open) should be proud of themselves. Thank you very much for making it possible.”

When the match started, Djokovic broke immediately to go up 3-0 in the opening set, then withstood a rally by Medvedev that brought it to 6-5. Djokovic converted the third of three set points to claim the opening frame.

After a brief hiccup in the second set, Djokovic reeled off four straight games to regain control and took the set with his fifth break of the match.

Another early break in the third set paved the way for Djokovic to claim his 18th Grand Slam title.

Medvedev, the No. 4 seed, saw a 20-match winning streak burst along with his hopes of capturing his first Grand Slam title.

“He’s definitely one of the toughest players I’ve faced in my life,” said Djokovic of Medvedev on-court afterward. “It’s a matter of time when you hold a Grand Slam, if you don’t mind waiting a couple more years. I would like everyone to appreciate one more time what he’s done, the 20-match win streak.”

The win gives Djokovic a 5-3 career record against Medvedev and avenges a 6-3, 6-3 loss at the Nitto ATP Finals.

Medvedev referred to Djokovic — and Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer — as the “cyborgs of tennis.” He thanked Djokovic for taking the time to help him, including at the Davis Cup, and told Djokovic this wouldn’t be his last Grand Slam.

Djokovic joked that the pair weren’t as tight as they once were as both players addressed media and the crowd after the match.

“We used to spend more time together. You’re not calling me anymore like you used to,” said Djokovic.

“But it’s nice to see you are thinking good things about me.”

–Field Level Media