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Djokovic stalks Federer and Nadal after their triumph in Australia

Ninth Australian Open final and ninth title: Novak Djokovic, who unceremoniously defeated Daniil Medvedev, won his bet against an abdominal injury that came close to costing him retirement in the third round, and won his 18th Grand Slam title.

The world number 1 had announced that he was willing to take all physical risks to try to get as far as possible in this great that he is so good at, because his long-term goal is the record of Grand Slam titles.

At 33 years old, Djokovic is placed two titles of the 20 greats from Federer and Nadal.

« These two weeks have been a roller coaster ride for me, » Djoko acknowledged. « I want to thank Rod Laver Arena, the love story continues, » he said.

Abdominal pain? Watching him rise for a smash that gave him a 3-0 lead in the first set, anyone could assume his fitness was optimal. Also when checking the result of 7-5, 6-2, 6-2, in less than two hours.

And that Medvedev had spent four and a half hours less on the court (more or less a match to five sets) than Djokovic on his way to the final.

Fulfilled the prediction

But the Serbian had warned: “With all the respect I owe to the other players (not counting Federer and Nadal), they still have work ahead of them to take over. I’m not going to stay here and let them do it. I will force them to fight hard to achieve it, ”Djoker declared prior to the tournament.

Promise kept and bet won: between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal ten of the last eleven Grand Slam titles are shared (since Roland Garros 2018). Only Dominic Thiem, at the 2020 US Open, managed to snatch one from them, although it was in the absence of Nadal and Federer, and with Djokovic disqualified.

“Daniil is one of the most difficult players to play that I have faced. Don’t worry, it’s only a matter of time before you lift a Grand Slam trophy. But I would like you to wait a few years, ”Djokovic told the Russian with a smile at the trophy ceremony.

The Serbian will break one of Federer’s records on March 8, when he begins his 311st week at the top of the world hierarchy. The Swiss was blocked in 310 weeks.

Mededev lost his second final in a major after the 2019 US Open, and his series of 20 consecutive victories was interrupted. Today he will rank third in the ATP rankings for the first time in his career.

Key code

Joins Rafa
With his triumph yesterday, the Balkan joined Rafael Nadal as the only tennis players to win nine Grand Slam titles in one of the big four.

So he said

• « With everything that happened on the court, my injury, and outside of it, the quarantines, it is without a doubt the most complicated Grand Slam tournament I played »

• « It’s not that I feel old or tired, but I know that from a biological point of view things are no longer the same for me as they were ten years ago »
Novak Djokovic, Serbian tennis player