Novak Djokovic said on Monday he is targeting a Roland Garros win next spring to hold all four Grand Slam titles for the second time in his career and inch closer to Roger Federer’s record 20 Grand Slam tournaments.
The world no. 1 was speaking at Melbourne’s Botanical Gardens less than 24 hours after conquering a record seventh Australian Open trophy with a dominant performance against Rafael Nadal in the final.
“I don’t want this to sound arrogant but I’ve done it once, why not do it again?’,” said the Serbian.
The 15-time Grand Slam champion broke his tie with Roger Federer and Roy Emerson for most Australian Open men’s titles. He also broke a tie with his idol, Pete Sampras, for third-most Grand Slam trophies; Djokovic now only trails Federer with 20, and Nadal with 17.
Djokovic has only won the French Open once before, in 2016, when he held all four Grand Slams at the same time.
The predictions had been for something akin to their near six-hour battle in the final here seven years ago but Djokovic had other ideas, taking just two hours and four minutes to claim a 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 victory and a 15th slam crown.
The title, his first in Melbourne since 2016, separated him from the tie he was in with Roy Emerson and Roger Federer, while Djokovic is the first man ever to win three successive slam titles on three different occasions.
Three years ago, of course, he went on to make it four in a row by winning the French Open, and on this form even Nadal on clay will be hard pushed to prevent a repeat.
Part of the problem was that the Spaniard did not appear to trust the more aggressive game that had carried him through to the final without the loss of a set and instead reverted to his more defensive clay-court style.
That was manna from heaven for Djokovic, who, instead of fearing the Nadal forehand, sees it as something to be attacked, and time and again he got his reward.
This was their seventh meeting in a slam final and the first to be decided in straight sets, with Djokovic’s final tally of 34 winners and only nine unforced errors demonstrating just what an extraordinary performance this was.
Nadal began their 53rd meeting trailing 27-25 but had not won a set in seven hard-court matches against Djokovic since 2013 so perhaps it was not surprising he began nervously.
Djokovic was ruthless, dropping only one point in the first three games, and only one on serve in a first set that was far less close than the scoreline suggested.
Nadal, who came into the tournament having not played a competitive match since the US Open, was so tight he completely missed an attempted forehand but by the end of the nine games there were at least signs that he was starting to warm to his task.
But the forehand, which has been so destructive this tournament, continued to be more miss than hit and nothing less than perfection was going to be good enough against Djokovic in this form.
He broke the Nadal serve again to lead 3-2 and finished off the second set with a run of five games in a row.
Djokovic appeared to be throwing in drop shots just to give himself a challenge so utterly in control was he, and the pattern did not change in the third set, with the Serbian moving ahead in the third game.
He finally faced a break point at 3-2 but Nadal netted and with that went his final chance to get any kind of foothold in the match.
Djokovic clinched victory on his second match point when, aptly, Nadal missed once more with a forehand.
Provided by Press Association Sport
Newly crowned Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka was at Melbourne’s Brighton Beach on Sunday morning holding the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup in her hands, hours after defeating Petra Kvitova in three sets in the tournament’s final.
Saturday’s win also meant that Osaka became the new world no.1 in the women’s tour.
The 21-year-old Japanese was the first female tennis player to win two consecutive Grand Slam titles since Jennifer Capriati in 2001. Osaka won her maiden major title at the 2018 US Open.