Novak Djokovic motivated to surpass Roger Federer's 20 Grand Slam titles
"It ranks right at the top," Djokovic says of his performance against Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final.
By Mathieu Wood
Last Updated: 28/01/19 12:01am
Novak Djokovic has set his sights on continuing to make history, after winning a record seventh Australian Open to move a step closer to surpassing Roger Federer’s all-time Grand Slam haul.
The world No 1 sealed a third successive Grand Slam success in devastating fashion as he beat Rafael Nadal 6-3 6-2 6-3 to overtake Federer and Roy Emerson and hold the outright men's record for titles at Melbourne Park.
Djokovic, who has now won three majors in succession on three spate occasions in his career, moved within five of Federer's tally of 20 titles and is intent on giving himself the best chance of bettering the Swiss.
"I am aware that making history of the sport that I truly love is something special," Djokovic said.
"Of course, it motivates me. How many seasons are to come? I don't know. I'm not trying to think too much in advance.
"I do want to definitely focus myself on continuing to improve my game and maintaining the overall well-being that I have - mental, physical and emotional - so I would be able to compete at such a high level for the years to come, and have a shot at eventually getting closer to Roger's record. It's still far."
Pre-match predictions indicated the Rod Laver Arena crowd could be in store for a repeat of the memorable near-six hour contest that unfolded when the pair last met in Melbourne in 2012 but Djokovic was on another level throughout Sunday's final.
Djokovic made just nine unforced errors during the two-hour-and-four-minute encounter as Nadal, who was playing in his first competitive tournament since retiring at the US Open last year, was unable to thwart the relentless Serb.
"It ranks right at the top. Playing against Nadal, such an important match, it's amazing," Djokovic, who also thrashed Lucas Pouille in his semi-final, said.
Obviously back-to-back semi-finals and finals, I think I made 15 unforced errors in total in two matches.
"It's quite pleasantly surprising to myself, even though I always believe I can play this way. Under the circumstances, it was truly a perfect match."
The victory for Djokovic came only a year after he was knocked out of the same tournament in the fourth round by Hyeon Chung.
I might have figured him out for the match, but not for life.
Novak Djokovic on beating Rafael Nadal
The 31-year-old promptly decided to undergo surgery to cure a long-standing elbow injury and since a premature exit at the French Open last year has appeared a resurgent presence on tour.
But Djokovic is in no doubt of the challenge he faces if he is to repeat his 2016 success at Roland Garros and claim a second Coupe des Mousquetaires, therefore hold all four Grand Slams at once.
"I don't want to say I figured him out because I don't want that to bounce back at me in any way in the future," he said.
"I might have figured him out for the match, but not for life. I'm sure we're still going to have a lot of matches against each other on different surfaces. I look forward to it.
"I really hope we will because this rivalry has been the one that impacted me on a personal and professional level the most in my life."
We have the tennis season covered from all angles via our website skysports.com/tennis. On the move? Head to our app for mobile devices and iPad, or follow our Twitter account @SkySportsTennis to join in the conversation.