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'I was not nervous!': Nadal refutes Australian Open anxiety after jittery performance

29 January, 2019, 00:56 | Author: Lula Armstrong
  • Djokovic and Nadal to meet in the final

Here's five things we learned at the Australian Open.

Nadal, who hadn't lost a set up until the final, couldn't match his rival physically, losing 6-3 6-2 6-3. Nadal doesn't lose matches like that, especially after playing such flawless tennis to reach the final-he hadn't so much as a dropped service game since his opening match.

The near-perfection with which he won his last two matches _ a combined 58 winners and 14 unforced errors in his semifinal and final _ was something Djokovic termed "pleasantly surprising" and Nadal considered "the highest level possible".

Djokovic rated this victory one of the best of his career, but he didn't want to say he'd found the secret to breaking down Nadal.

"It's been an emotional two weeks, even if today wasn't my best day", Nadal said after the match, per The Telegraph.

Now that she went back to back in winning the Australian Open, fans and media have raised expectations for Osaka to next claim the French Open and Wimbledon, which would constitute a non-calendar grand slam.

"Before the match I have [spoken to my family] and they bring me this serenity and love, exactly what I need before the match", he said. Nadal's serve, upgraded after a motion tweak this offseason, was no match for one of the game's all-time great returners seeing the ball clearly. That is a staggering statistic.

Tsitsipas on Nadal: "Just has the talent to make you play bad". Djokovic is now in a position to try, for the seventh and perhaps most propitious time.

Djokovic admitted he would have thought it was "not impossible but highly unlikely" if 12 months ago it had been suggested he would be holding aloft the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup in 2019 and one step towards completing a Grand Slam. He seemed uncharacteristically nervous and missed several routine shots. It was as if Nadal was playing on gravel while Djokovic glided on air.

"I need matches, but I can't go insane to play matches", said Nadal.

The victory helped Djokovic move past Roger Federer and Roy Emerson's six Melbourne titles to take sole ownership of the record.

The peerless Serb broke Nadal five times while conceding only a single break point, and coughed up only four unforced errors in the first two sets. Yet both are still chasing Federer's record 20 majors and a least a stake in the debate over being greatest of all. He now trails only Federer (20) and Nadal (17). Even considering that deficit, Djokovic already has a case as the greatest ever: He's the only male player to win all nine Masters titles, and he's won 15 majors and 73 career titles despite competing his entire career against two other GOAT candidates.

He retired from his Australian Open quarterfinal and U.S. Open semifinal previous year with right leg problems, had an offseason operation on his right ankle, and hadn't competed in about four months when play began in Melbourne.

It's easy to overreact to one exceptional performance.

Djokovic, 31, revealed it was simply self belief that was the cornerstone of his comeback that now sees him hold three major trophies concurrently.

Considering his age, excellent health, a near obsession with clean living and hearty appetite for domination (Djokovic has won three straight majors in his zero-to-hero resurgence), it's hard to escape the idea that it's game on for GOAT honors.

Novak Djokovic, however, had all the answers.



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