Novak targets Roger’s record
Novak Djokovic put Roger Federer on notice as he won his 17th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open and warned he was going all-out for the Swiss’s record of 20 – and his mark for weeks as world No 1.
Djokovic, who came through a mid-match slump to win his eighth title in Melbourne, is totting up the victories that could soon end the debate over who’s the greatest in history.
The five-set victory over Dominic Thiem was his eighth in eight finals in Melbourne, putting him alongside Federer and Nadal as the only men to win the same Slam eight times.
It makes Djokovic, 32, the first man in the Open era to win Grand Slam titles in three different decades – and as a bonus, returns him to world No 1.
In an ominous sign for his rivals, the Serb has started the year unbeaten with Wimbledon, the French Open, the Tokyo Olympics and the US Open all lying in front of him as tantalising opportunities.
He is clear-sighted about his goals: overtaking Nadal’s 19 Major titles and Federer’s 20 to become the all-time Grand Slam king, and outdoing the Swiss master’s record 310 weeks in the top ranking.
Djokovic has so far clocked up 276 weeks as No 1 and could pass second-placed Pete Sampras’s 286 in April, and Federer’s 310 on 5 October.
“Obviously at this stage of my career, Grand Slams are the ones I value the most. They are the ones I prioritise,” said Djokovic, adding “there’s a lot of history on the line”.
“Grand Slams are one of the main reasons why I am still competing and still playing a full season, trying to obviously get the historic No 1 (record). That’s the other big goal,” he said.
With five major titles in just over two years, and unbeaten by Nadal and Federer at Slams since 2014, there’s no question who’s now the leading member of the “Big Three”.
UNSTOPPABLE. This combination of photos shows Serbia’s Novak Djokovic holding the Norman Brookes Trophy after his eight Australian Open victories.