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Novak's Aussie Affair

Novak's Aussie Affair
February 21, 2021   |   by Craig Gabriel
Novak Djokovic is riding the crest of a wave. He is celebrating an incredible achievement by winning the Australian Open. He says it is a love affair that he has with the famed Rod Laver Arena. The world No.1 claimed the title for a record extending ninth time and he was asked what number nine meant to him.

"When you're a young tennis player, I think 99.9 percent of players, kids that get a racquet in their hands, start dreaming about what they want to achieve, it's a Grand Slam, winning a major," Djokovic said. "So, of course I tried to remind myself, pinch myself, of how important this is.

"Even though I have been fortunate to win many majors and play in many major finals in my life, I do enjoy the success every single time even more because I know that the longer the time passes, the more difficult it's going to become for me to get my hands on the major trophy because you have, of course, new young players coming up that are as hungry as you, maybe even hungrier, and they're coming up and they're challenging me and Roger and Rafa.

"I haven't made any commitment actually after Australia. I'm just trying to marvel in this success and enjoy it as much as I can."

Djokovic took one hour 53 minutes to beat Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 which surprised many as the expectation was this would be a tight match. Medvedev had beaten Djokovic in three of their last four matches, he had beaten every top ten player in the last few months (except Roger Federer who isn't playing) and he was on a win streak of 20 and a streak of 12 over top ten players.

The first set was crucial, certainly for Medvedev. Djokovic went up 3-0, the Russian levelled and then Medvedev served to stay in the set at 6-6 but facing set point he rushed a forehand and dumped it into the net.

While Medvedev had a break early in the second, it did not last long and Djokovic went for strength to strength. Medvedev served to stay in the championship but when Djokovic got match point he made no mistake as he flicked a high backhand return for a winner.

Djokovic has a clear passage to breaking Roger Federer's record of 310 weeks at No.1. He will equal that on 1st March and break the record on 8 March.

"Now, after achieving the historic No. 1 for the longest weeks at No. 1, it's going to be a relief for me because I'm going to focus all my attention on slams mostly," Novak said. "When you are going for No. 1 rankings, you kind of have to be playing the entire season and you have to be playing well, you have to play all the tournaments.

My goals will adapt and will shift a little bit, which means that I will have to adjust also my calendar - not have to, but I will have an opportunity to do that which, as a father and a husband, I'm really looking forward to that."

Medvedev was naturally disappointed. Whenever he had small chances Djokovic lifted his level to disrupt Medvedev.

"I was there in the first set, I was up a break in the second, but in the end I lost in three sets where I didn't play bad but I didn't play high best level," Medvedev said. "Probably he made his game that good today that I couldn't stay at my best level.

"Yeah, I obviously thought about Rublev and Tsitsipas both amazing top-10 players, and I won with similar score where they were playing good, but I felt like I was better. So today was the case for Novak.

"I cannot say much better than this. He was better than me today. I could have done things for sure better today, but I didn't manage to. That's why I don't have the trophy."

The doubles title went to Ivan Dodig and Filiop Polasek 6-3, 6-4 over last year's champions Rajeev Ream and Joe Salisbury.
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