Djokovic wins 7th Australian Open
Novak Djokovic produced a performance of the ages as he defeated the awesome Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final. What had been billed as a 50:50 match was one of the most one sided matches in the 53 match rivalry. The Serbian won this encounter in just over 2 hours 6-3 6-2 6-3 to lift his fifteenth grand slam title. This is Djokovic third slam in a row since Wimbledon in an awesome 7 months of play.
Few would have predicted such a demolition derby. Nadal and Djokovic are still the best players on tour right now despite them both being in their thirties. Rafael Nadal had not dropped a set en route to the final. With his adapted service motion and ferocious baseline game he had been able to slice through his draw with ease. In fact he had never looked so good in Australia. The bandages that frequently covered every joint on his body were absent in 2019; possibly due to the relatively little time he had spent on court.
Nadal demolished Stefanos Tsitsipas who himself played pretty good in his first slam semi final. He looked incredible. The 2019 Nadal was fast efficient and ruthless even if his post match comments were humble and down to earth. Djokovic also seemed to want to set down a marker in his semi final victory over the resurgent Lucas Pouille; having said that Nadal was still the favourite.
Djokovic blunted all of Nadal’s weapons and no matter what he tried he could not put the Serb under pressure. In the earlier rounds Nadal had been dictating all the points with his length and spin. Djokovic depth and variety really pushed Nadal back on court further blunting his effectiveness. Djokovic also took a leaf out of the Federer serving book. He won his first 16 points on serve and didn’t drop one. He varied the delivery with the hard flat down the T to the slicey wide kicker out to Nadals backhand.
Nadal chased and harried like he has done for his whole career he covered every inch of the Rod Laver Arena. Sadly he was unable to move Djokovic as much as he would have liked. Djokovic frequently went to the forehand into Nadal’s left hand ( ad court ) corner. He jammed him up, forced him back and seized the initiative in many of the rallies. By going after Nadal’s strength, Djokovic wore Nadal down mentally and Nadal was unable to gain a foothold in any rallies. Nadals favourite play the inside out forehand into the deuce corner was largely impotent.
4 in a row at Roland Garros
Amazing Novak Djokovic will be attempting 4 in a row at Roland Garros. These past few months have seen Djokovic return to the top of the game and his form akin to 2011 and 2015. Nadal thrives on the clay and will be going for a twelfth title in Roland Garros. He will have a massive incentive to prevent Djokovic from sealing another Djokovic-slam. For the moment the clay court season is a long way away. Federer will also be enjoying his swansong on the clay too. Will he be a factor? One thing for sure is at the current stage Novak and Rafa are way ahead of the pack and play tennis from another planet.