Top-ranked Novak Djokovic of Serbia beat second-seeded Andy Murray of Britain in straight sets to earn his sixth Australian Open singles title.
MELBOURNE, Australia – In five previous Australian Open championships, Novak Djokovic had never felt so much love.
After extending his perfect record to six finals at Melbourne Park — and prolonging Andy Murray’s streak to five losses from five championship deciders Down Under — Djokovic had hundreds of Serbian fans singing and chanting his name so loudly he could barely hear questions in a TV interview.
While the top-ranked Djokovic was still celebrating his 6-1, 7-5, 7-6 (7-3) victory Sunday, equaling Roy Emerson’s record of six Australian titles, Murray was rushing for the airport to catch a flight back to Britain to reunite with his pregnant wife.
“I never experienced this much crowd and this much love,” Djokovic said. “I’ve had the fortune to win this trophy now six times, but I never experienced such support.”
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Djokovic has won the last three Grand Slam tournament titles, and four of the last five, to lift his career haul to 11 — equaling Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg in fifth place on the men’s all-time list led by Roger Federer (17).
“I don’t take anything for granted, even though I won last four out of five Grand Slams, played five finals, it’s phenomenal,” said Djokovic, 28, reflecting on a period of time in which he was married, became a father and lost one match in five major championships — the final of the French Open. “No doubt that I’m playing the best tennis of my life in the last 15 months.
“Everything is going well privately, as well, so I feel like I’m at the point in my life where everything is working in harmony. I’ll try to keep it that way.”
His next objective is a first major title on clay to complete his collection. Djokovic has an 0-3 record in French Open finals.
After kissing the court at Rod Laver Arena, and going to the stands to hug coach Boris Becker, Djokovic paid tribute to the second-seeded Murray.
“You’re a great champion, great friend, a great person who is very professional and committed to this sport,” he said in his post-match speech. “So I’m sure in the future you’ll have more opportunities to fight for this trophy.”
As a father himself, Djokovic didn’t want to delay Murray’s departure.
The 28-year-old Scotsman had his share of distractions in Australia. His wife, Kim, is to have their first child in February and didn’t travel with him. Kim’s father, Nigel Sears, was in Australia as coach for Ana Ivanovic, but became ill and had to be taken to a nearby hospital by ambulance while Murray was on court in his third-round match. Once Nigel Sears was well enough to return home, Murray could stay in Australia and try to refocus on winning the title.
“It’s been a tough few weeks for me away from the court,” Murray said in his post-match speech, before turning his attention to his wife.
“You’ve been a legend the last two weeks. Thank you so much for all your support,” he said, choking back tears as he walked away from the microphone.
“I’ll be on the next flight home.”
|Men’s major titles from one event|
|Novak Djokovic equaled Roy Emerson’s record of six Australian titles.|
|9||Rafael Nadal, French Open||2005-08, 2010-14|
|7||Richard Sears, U.S. Championships||1881-87|
|7||Willie Renshaw, Wimbledon||1881-86, 1889|
|7||Bill Larned, U.S. Championships||1901-02, 1907-11|
|7||Bill Tilden, U.S. Championships||1920-25, 1929|
|7||Pete Sampras, Wimbledon||1993-95, 1997-2000|
|7||Roger Federer, Wimbledon||2003-07, 2009, 2012|
|6||Roy Emerson, Australian Championships||1961, 1963-67|
|6||Bjorn Borg, French Open||1974-75, 1978-81|
|6||Novak Djokovic, Australian Open||2008, 2011-13, 2015-16|