It’s a magnificent seven. Novak Djokovic eclipsed the six Australian Open titles won by Roy Emerson and Roger Federer to take sole ownership of the men’s singles record at Melbourne Park with a resounding 6-3 6-2 6-3 win over Rafael Nadal on Sunday night.
The world No.1 has now won the last three Grand Slam titles in succession, surpassing the trophy hauls of both Emerson and his idol Pete Sampras with his 15th major in the process. But more than the numbers, it was the manner of this victory – equal parts stellar and statement – that underscored his hegemony here at Rod Laver Arena.
At times Nadal was completely thrown off his game by the world No.1, stumbling out of the blocks amid a raft of errors in the opening set, left second-guessing as the rallies grew longer in the second, and beaten by a string of drop shots as the Serb broke early in the third before sprinting to the finish after weathering a late rally from the Spaniard.
No shot typified Nadal’s troubles more than the forehand, which accounted for 15 of his 28 errors having been the bedrock of his run to the final. In contrast, Djokovic was virtually flawless, making just nine errors in total and firing 34 winners to Nadal’s 21.