Djokovic equals Emerson with record sixth title

Novak Djokovic gives the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup a kiss. (Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic will have an enduring legacy in Melbourne.

Djokovic made it an incredible six wins from six Australian Open men’s singles finals appearances with a 6-1 7-5 7-6 blitz of Scotland’s Andy Murray at Rod Laver Arena on Sunday night.

Djokovic’s sixth title equals the Australian Open record set by Roy Emerson 49 years ago.

It has drawn Djokovic level on 11 grand slam title victories with icons Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver.

“Every grand slam title is very significant in its own way,” Djokovic said.

“Here, because of the fact that I managed to make history tonight and equal Roy Emerson’s six Australian Open titles.

“Very honoured to be mentioned alongside legends of our sport like Bjorn Borg, Rod Laver, win as many grand slams as they did.

“I can’t lie and say I didn’t think about it. Of course it was in back of my mind. Coming into the court I knew that I have a chance to make the history. Of course it served as a great motivation, as a great imperative to play my best.”


Novak Djokovic gets cramped up in his shot motion. (Photo: Michael Dodge/Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic gets cramped up in his shot motion. (Photo: Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Djokovic, the world No. 1 from Serbia, came out with a purpose, taking the first set in a blink-and-you-miss 30 minutes.

He broke not once, but twice, racing to a 5-0 lead, giving Murray the run around.

Djokovic only conceded one game in the first set and it was looking a tad one-sided.

“I think I started the match very well, as I started in semi finals versus Roger [Federer], with not many things I’ve done wrong,” he said.

“Actually I was very aggressive and just played the way I wanted to play against him, and executed the game plan perfectly for a set and a half.”

Murray was clearly not in the right head space early in the match.

It was always going to be a test of patience against the top baseliner in the world and he let himself down time and again with rushed shots leading to unforced errors.

Murray looked as if his mind was elsewhere, perhaps recalling the history of four previous failed Australian Open final attempts, or the status of his pregnant wife Kim, who is due to give birth of their child any day now, or even thinking about the health of his father-in-law Nigel Sears after he fell ill during the Open.

Murray had been through a lot in the past two weeks and looked as if it had worn him down.


Andy Murray shows his frustration. (Photo: Darrian traynor/Getty Images)
Andy Murray shows his frustration. (Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

“A lot’s been going on,” Murray said. “You know, I started the last couple of matches quite slowly, I think, understandable in some respects.

“Obviously, you know, it’s not good to begin matches like that against someone like Novak, but, you know, I’m proud of the way I fought and managed to get myself back into the match and create chances for myself.”

The second and third sets produced the kind of tennis spectators expected when they arrived at the venue.

Murray showed a lot of courage to get up off the canvas and make it a genuine contest.

The second set went for a marathon 80 minutes with a host of absorbing rallies and eye catching winners.

Murray was more mentally engaged in the battle, fighting fire with fire, but it was Djokovic who once again found the first break of the set.

But Murray broke back straight away to get the set on serve, but as was the trend of the match, Djokovic found a way to get his nose back in front and would eventually clinch the set on a Murray double fault.

When Djokovic broke Murray in the first game of the third set, it seemed like it would only be a matter of time before he was hoisting the trophy.

Murray refused to go quietly, breaking back and taking the third set to a tie-break.


Novak Djokovic celebrates after match point. (Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic celebrates after match point. (Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

As he was for most of the match, Murray proved his own worst enemy in the tie-breaker, coughing up two double faults and gift wrapping the title to Djokovic.

“The second set was decided in a few points, as it was the third,” Djokovic said. “He definitely made me work. There were a lot of long rallies, long exchanges. We were both breathing heavily towards the end of the second and the third set, but that’s what you expect.”

Djokovic can sit comfortably among the sporting immortals who have graced this sports-mad city.

At 28, there is plenty of time for Djokovic to add to his remarkable haul, and you wouldn’t back against the completion of a second three-peat at the Open in 2017, something he achieved from 2011-13.

For now, Djokovic is revelling in the moment.

“It’s a great honour,” he said. “I don’t take anything for granted, even though I won last four out of five grand slams, played five finals out of last five grand slams that I played.

“It’s phenomenal. I’m very proud of it, as is my team. We worked very hard to be in this position and we should enjoy it.

“We should cherish every moment that we get to experience now because these are the tournaments that we all value, that we all want to play well on.

“No doubt that I’m playing the best tennis of my life in last 15 months.”


2016 Australian Open

Men’s singles final

Novak Djokovic defeated Andy Murray 6-1 7-5 7-6