Novak Djokovic’s sixth Australian Open crown draws him level with Roy Emerson while his 11th overall means he climbs to joint-fifth on the all-time list alongside Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg.
After thrashing Rafael Nadal in Doha and trouncing Roger Federer here in the semi-finals, Djokovic’s straight-sets win over Andy Murray yesterday would appear to confirm that the big four has become a big one.
The Serb blew Murray away in another flawless first set and while the British number one mounted more resistance as the match went on, he could not prevent Djokovic winning 6-1 7-5 7-6 (7/3).
Djokovic has now won a record-equalling six titles at the Australian Open and 11 grand slams overall.
But Djokovic said: “I don’t want to allow myself to be in that frame of mind.
“If I do, the person becomes too arrogant and thinks that he’s a higher being or better than everybody else, you can get a big slap from karma very soon. I don’t want that.”
He added: “I heard actually a nice metaphor yesterday — ‘the wolf climbing the hill is hungrier than the wolf at the top’.
“You can observe it from different sides but I believe all the guys are out there fighting each week to get to number one and I know that.”
As Rod Laver Arena stood to salute the defending champion, Djokovic bent down and kissed the court.
“It is special here,” Djokovic said. “That’s why I kissed the court. I’ve had a love affair with Rod Laver Arena for many years and I hope it can last a long time.”
Meanwhile, Murray rushed through his post-match press conference and admitted he just wanted to get home.
It brings an end to a turbulent fortnight for Murray, who has had his bags packed and was ready to leave if his wife Kim went into labour early at home.
There was also the unexpected collapse of his father-in-law Nigel Sears last weekend, when Murray admitted he had been close to pulling out of the tournament, before Sears was given the all-clear.
The world number two said an emotional thank you to Kim in his post-match speech on court and with the contest finishing at just after 10.30pm local time, he aimed to catch an even earlier flight out of Melbourne than planned, at around 1am.
“I’m proud that I got into this position, just quite looking forward to getting home now,” Murray said.
“It’s been hard. Regardless of today’s result, it’s been hard. Had I lost in the third or fourth round it still would have been difficult with everything that’s happened.
“Kim has been amazing. She’s handled everything unbelievably well.
“I have to thank her for allowing me to play and sort of stay here with everything that was going on. But, yeah, it was tough.”
Meanwhile, Serena Williams insists her shock Australian Open defeat had nothing to do with equalling Steffi Graf’s Open-era record 22 grand slam titles.
Williams was one win away from levelling Graf’s top tally of major triumphs but the American remains stuck on 21 after Angelique Kerber pulled off a shock 6-4 3-6 6-4 victory.
It is the second time in successive major tournaments Williams has crumbled under pressure after the surprise US Open loss to Roberta Vinci last year, which ended her hopes of clinching the first calendar grand slam since 1988.
The world number one made 46 unforced errors on Rod Laver Arena and was broken five times, but she is adamant Graf’s record had not rattled her composure.
“No I wasn’t nervous. I was nervous before the match,” Williams said. “Once it got started, it was so intense from the beginning till the end that I didn’t really have time to be nervous.”
A jubilant Kerber said: “The feeling I have I think it’s more proud, proud about my team, my family, my friends.
“They are always believing in me. I’m not the easiest person sometimes. I had also like a few downs where I was not so believing in myself.
“All my families and friends, they believe always in me. They told me, ‘Okay, let’s go to work and you will do it some day’.
“I’m just happy. I have so many emotions it’s like crazy.”
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