Australian Open 2019: Can anyone match Novak Djokovic's conviction?

Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic

Australian Open 2019: Can anyone match Novak Djokovic's conviction?

Novak Djokovic secured a record seventh Australian Open title with his thrashing of Rafael Nadal in Sunday's final.

A year removed from surgery to his right elbow, Djokovic is pain-free, ranked No. 1 and, perhaps, better than ever.

IT was the most one-sided loss Rafael Nadal has suffered in a grand slam to Novak Djokovic yet Nadal's former coach, his uncle Toni, maintains the gap between the two players is not that big.

Novak Djokovic was so good, so relentless, so pretty much flawless, that Rafael Nadal never stood a chance.

Nadal has beaten Djokovic only three times in 16 meetings since the second of his US Open final victories over him in 2013. In 2012, he then lost in the French Open final, and in 2016 he did the Nole Slam but lost in the third round at Wimbledon.

But as impressive as Nadal was in the past fortnight, the 17-times major victor felt his lack of match practise before the Australian Open was a telling point in his comprehensive loss to Djokovic.

"I think the result of the final gave the feeling of a wider distance than, in fact, there is", he added. Since the US Open I was not able to play a professional match.

Then there were his injury woes nearly 12 months ago to the day when the Serbian, about to undergo elbow surgery, was left contemplating his tennis mortality.

"If I'm still playing and winning slams I think it's logical to conclude that I am (aiming for that)", Djokovic said. "I have to keep doing the things that I am doing", he said after swatting aside Stefanos Tsitsipas, one of the game´s brightest prospects, 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 in 106 minutes of destruction in the last four on Thursday.

The next grand slam test for Djokovic will be to triumph on the clay courts of the French Open in May and June - where Nadal has won an unprecedented 11 titles. Djokovic will go to Paris in May for the French Open seeking to become the only man in the Open Era to win all four majors twice, and with victory would hold all four majors at the same time for the second time in his career.

Shortening points and being more aggressive had suited Nadal throughout the tournament but against Djokovic maybe it should have been to grind and lengthen the points whenever possible, by hitting down the centre. Djokovic has won three Melbourne Park semis over Federer; they are yet to contest a final.

Aussie Wimbledon victor Pat Cash said records were "really important" to Federer and sided with Laver's prediction of the Serb leaving the sport ahead of the 37-year-old.

The achievement makes Djokovic the Australian Open's winningest player in history, drawing him ahead of Roy Emerson and Roger Federer. The Serbia also passed tennis icon Pete Sampras for third all-time in Grand Slam titles.

He was largely untouchable again on his way to the final, including wins over top-10 seeds Tomas Berdych and Federer.

"Not impossible, but highly unlikely", Djokovic said.

"I haven't played bad myself last couple matches".

Djokovic leads 27-25 overall but on hard courts the statistics are even more in the Serbian's favour.

Despite the thrashing, the defiant Spaniard said his five-set semi-final loss to Djokovic at Wimbledon previous year was more disappointing than Sunday's defeat.

"Even if tonight wasn't at my best day, I had someone playing much better against me". "But then you have (Dominic) Thiem and (Alexander) Zverev, and Roger (Federer) is probably going to play, and you have a lot of great players on clay who can challenge me or anybody else". "I want to thank them for unconditional love and support through all these years".

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