Sports & Entertainment
History spurred Djokovic to Australian hat-trick
  • | AFP | January 28, 2013 08:51 AM
Novak Djokovic said he was motivated by going into the history books as the winner of three consecutive Australian Open titles after he mastered his rival Andy Murray in the final on Sunday.
 
 Serbia's Novak Djokovic poses with the winner's trophy after his victory over Britain's Andy Murray during the men's singles final on day 14 of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 27, 2013.
The Serbian world number one became the first man in the Open Era and only the third ever to win three straight Australian titles, joining Australians Jack Crawford (1931-33) and five-time winner Roy Emerson (1963-67).

Djokovic confirmed his number one ranking and his pre-eminence as the greatest player in the world with his fourth Australian crown and sixth Grand Slam title overall.

He bounced back from losing to Murray in September's US Open final by winning 6-7 (2/7), 7-6 (7/3), 6-3, 6-2 in 3hr 40min, coming out clearly on top in the physically demanding battle with the British third seed.

Djokovic received the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup from four-time winner Andre Agassi, and is among the names of other legendary champions like Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer and Emerson on the trophy.

"What more motivation do you need than from this trophy?" Djokovic told journalists, with the trophy alongside him.

"Just seeing it and reading the names of the winners in the last 50, 100 years, it's incredible. To be also mentioned in the history aspect, and winning three in a row, it's a huge achievement."

This year's final may not have been as physically taxing as last year's record 5hr 53min victory over Rafael Nadal, but Djokovic once again showed his extraordinary stamina to grind down the muscular Scot.

"I didn't expect an easy match. You never get the Grand Slam trophy in an easy way. You have to earn it. I'm very glad that I'm sitting next to it (trophy) now," he said.

"When you play one of your biggest rivals and somebody that is in the top form in finals of a Grand Slam, there is a lot to play for.

"The first two sets went for I think two hours 20 minutes. I think that says enough about the intensity of the match.

"I knew that it was going to be physically very demanding, a lot of long rallies, so I needed to hang in there."

Djokovic said a turning point was in the second game of the second set when he was serving down love-40 against the breeze.

"Andy missed a few shots. I managed to have that crucial hold and after that I felt just mentally a little bit lighter and more confident on the court than I've done in the first hour or so," he said.

Djokovic shunned celebrations and was instead taking an early-hours flight back to Europe to prepare for Serbia's opening Davis Cup tie against Belgium in Charleroi this weekend.

"It's going to be a lot of fun next weekend to see how I can adjust to clay court in indoor conditions, playing away Davis Cup, which is always tricky," he said.

Djokovic added that one of his early targets this year was breaking through at Roland Garros and winning his first French Open title on clay.

"I want to go all the way in the French Open. I went to the final last year and had a great match against Rafa (Nadal), but he's always the favorite on that surface and he's the ultimate player to beat on clay," he said.

"But I think if I continue on playing well, stay healthy, I can have a chance."

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