Sunday February 21, 2021
There was agony before triumph
Record man Djokovic never loses in Melbourne
Novak Djokovic wins the Australian Open for the ninth time. The tennis star is expanding his title record in Melbourne. In the final, the Serb leaves the Russian Daniil Medvedev no chance. The start of the tournament is anything but confident.
Novak Djokovic defended his kingdom in Melbourne with a masterly performance and easily fended off the attack of the seemingly “unbeatable” Daniil Medvedev. The record champion and defending champion gave the formally strong Russian a lesson 7: 5, 6: 2, 6: 2 and triumphed in the ninth final at the Australian Open for the ninth time – a sensational record that is only matched by Rafael Nadal’s 13 titles in the French Open is exceeded.
Djokovic now has a total of 18 Grand Slam titles, in the historic three-way battle with his long-term rivals Roger Federer and Nadal (both 20), he is only two major triumphs to the record holders. For his third Melbourne title in a row, the world number one took in prize money of almost 1.8 million euros. After only 1:53 hours he mated the gifted chess player Medvedev.
At the same time, the 33-year-old Serb ended Medvedev’s impressive winning streak, who had recently won 20 matches in a row, including twelve against top 10 players. In his second Grand Slam final, the winner of the ATP Finals experienced the next disappointment – in 2019 the Muscovite had already lost to Nadal at the US Open.
Medvedev initially annoys Djokovic
Also because of this imposing series, the impression that tennis greats solidified in the course of the tournament: If someone Djokovic can fall at his favorite tournament, it is Medvedev. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the breakthrough and wins”, the Australian legend Rod Laver had tweeted before the final, Boris Becker also ennobled the Russian as the “man of the hour” and even saw him as a “little successor” for the years to come by Djokovic “.
Medvedev was also not impressed by a nervous start. The game, led by the German chair referee Nico Helwerth, quickly reached a high level. In the Rod Laver Arena, the Russian almost always found an answer to Djokovic’s aggressive game, the Serb had to fight hard for every point. After 42 minutes he used a small weakness Medvedev to win the first set.
The Russians make mistakes
The final of the Australian Open was also the next attempt by the so-called “next generation” players to herald the end of the era of the superstars Djokovic, Federer and Nadal. Although the last US Open in Dominic Thiem had already produced a new champion – Federer was injured there, Nadal did not start and Djokovic was disqualified in the round of 16 due to an uncontrollability.
“There is a lot of talk about the new generation that will take over from us,” said Djokovic: “But realistically, that has not happened yet. With all due respect to the other guys, they still have a lot of work to do.”
That was shown in the final in Melbourne: Djokovic kept the pressure high even with the lead in his back, Medvedev, however, made more and more simple mistakes. The Russian smashed his bat out of frustration and quarreled more and more with himself. Djokovic, whose abdominal muscle complaints seemed to be completely over, stayed highly concentrated and won the second round with ease.
Medvedev became more and more desperate, the focus was gone. “He’s such a talented player, but today he doesn’t have his nerve,” said Becker at Eurosport. Mentally, the ice-cold Djokovic was far superior – and easily fended off one last riot of his opponent.
The fact that Djokovic started the tournament with an injury to his stomach and the muscles did not heal until the final, could not heal because of the strain, did not prevent the Serb from the second triple victory. In the second round, however, he had to fight hard when he fought the American Frances Tiafoe in four sets. In the quarter-finals he defeated the last German Alexander Zverev. In 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019 and 2020 Djokovic also held the Norman Brooks Challenge Cup in his hands.