King Novak continues Melbourne reign | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 22, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:11 AM, February 22, 2021

King Novak continues Melbourne reign

Novak Djokovic thanked the blue court at the Rod Laver Arena after picking up a record-extending ninth Australian Open title yesterday with a 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 win over Russian Daniil Medvedev.

With Sunday's win, the world number one took his Grand Slam tally to 18, just two shy of Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal's men's record of 20. "Last but not least I would like to thank this court," the Serbian said during the trophy presentation.

Djokovic faced a lot of flak in the lead-up to the year's Grand Slam for requesting that organisers ease strict quarantine protocols for players in Australia. He thanked the organisers for a "great effort" to host the Grand Slam amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Much like Dominic Thiem in last year's final, Djokovic faced an opponent desperate for success and his own seat at the Grand Slam table. Unlike Thiem, who pushed Djokovic to five sets, Medvedev never really threatened in his second Grand Slam final.

Djokovic made a mockery of the Russian's 20-match winning streak and his pre-match barb that all the pressure to win was on the champion. He broke him seven times for the match and closed out the one-sided contest with a net-rush and a brilliant leaping volley.

Having extended his unbeaten record in nine finals at Melbourne Park, the Serb roared in triumph and wrapped up his team in a group hug.

Djokovic also had words of encouragement for Medvedev.

"I really like Daniil as a person, off the court he's great," Djokovic said. "Always very friendly ... On the court, he's definitely one of the toughest players that I ever faced in my life."It's a matter of time when you hold a Grand Slam that's for sure. If you don't mind waiting a few more years. I would like everyone ... to appreciate what he has done, 20-match winning streak in the last couple of months. Amazing."

ATP Finals winner Medvedev acknowledged it was not his best day and hoped he will soon be holding a Grand Slam trophy after losing his second major final after defeat to Rafa Nadal at the 2019 U.S. Open.

"Never easy to speak when you just lost a final of a Grand Slam," Medvedev said. "But I'll try to do my best, better than on court I hope.

"Just to tell you a small story, guys. I first practised with Novak when I was like 500-600 in the world in Monaco. He was already number one. Just won Wimbledon. I thought okay he's not going to speak to me or something, because the guy was a God for me. Because I was shy so I didn't speak. He was asking the questions, talking to me like a friend. I was really surprised.It never changed since I was 600 in the world or four in the world, you're a great sport, great person. So congratulations."

 

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