"In my best moments, I have been a tough opponent, too". The game of tennis is no different in this regard.
Conviction fuels the firmness of objective and gives a person the energy to knock down the hurdles that lay in their path. Djokovic's triumph at the 2019 Australian Open was reflective of this very notion. If he remains world No.1 for the foreseeable future, Djokovic could break Federer's mark mid-next year, around the time of Wimbledon.
"I'm just one slam away from that and I'm not the only one who has been in this situation before".
The world number one started his seventh Australian Open final just as he had left off against Lucas Pouille in the semifinals. And now, as the reigning US Open, Wimbledon and Australian Open champion - and having surpassed childhood idol Pete Sampras' 14 majors - the window of opportunity to shred through the sport's history books.
Djokovic improved to 7-0 in finals at Melbourne Park with a remarkably dominant and mistake-free performance against Nadal.
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"We push each other to the limit of our tennis level", said Nadal.
Rafael Nadal celebrates beating Alex De Minaur during day five of the 2019 Australian Open on January 18, 2019. The final count: 21 winners and 28 unforced errors for Nadal; 34 winners and nine unforced errors for Djokovic.
Late Sunday night at Melbourne Park, Djokovic's coach, Marian Vajda, couldn't stop smiling as he dissected the unbelievably lopsided 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Nadal in the final - and its larger significance.
What was the reason behind the way the final unfolded?
Djokovic was circumspect when asked about the prospect of winning a Grand Slam, mostly limiting his answer to his chances in Paris. Conversely, this is precisely the factor which was missing from his opponent's game. But the 17-time major victor had a different perspective. He continuously attacked, to the point that it became completely nullified. Who will challenge them?
After further baseline punishment, he broke Nadal for the fourth time, pulling him around like a puppet-master before tripping him up with an irretrievable drop-shot. That's not much, but Nadal's game is much more effortful.
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The numbers at the end of the match depicted a similar story.
Nadal also has dealt with all manner of health issues.
The last time these two greats played was in Wimbledon, a 5-hour 17-minute thriller that saw Djokovic win in five sets. His forehand carried zip through these two weeks but it was reduced to paper by the Serb, who took the second set in 40 minutes. Roger Federer, the current leader among active players in the GOAT sweepstakes, is in the full bloom of health.
Only Nadal stood between him and a record seventh Australian Open title in a repeat of their epic 2012 final.
"I don't want to sound arrogant, but I always believe in myself".
"I think the result of the final gave the feeling of a wider distance than, in fact, there is", he added. If he wins the French Open-Nadal remains the favorite, but Djokovic's prospects suddenly look a lot rosier-he'll hold all four major titles simultaneously for the second time, something Nadal and Federer never accomplished even once.
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In his celebratory speech, Djokovic reflected on his recovery following an elbow injury and a drop in form.
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