’I want to be the greatest’: Novak Djokovic targets Roger Federer’s record

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Novak Djokovic won 13 of the first 14 points of the Australian Open final against Rafael Nadal and took the first set 6-3 in 36 minutes.

It seems absurd - but if you watched Djokovic beat Nadal on Sunday night, you could not help but wonder. He has conceded just six points on his serve. The final score read 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 in the Serbian's favour.

The numbers were scarcely believable considering the duo had battled for nearly six hours in their previous Australian Open final in 2012 - the longest final in Grand Slam history. His record since the beginning of Wimbledon previous year is 38-4, and that includes two wins each against Federer and Nadal.

Despite not having an ATP Tour match under his belt since early September, the 32-year-old Spaniard showed few signs of rust during his run to the final.

Much was expected from the title clash but it turned out to be a lopsided affair. So could he become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 and only the third man ever to win the elusive calendar Grand Slam? The answer, perhaps, lies in the nearly palpable demonstration of Djokovic's conviction and self-belief through his tactics.

It has been a remarkable recovery for Djokovic, who conceded it was doubtful he would be able to get back to this level so quickly after the surgery past year.

Jelena posted an adorable pic of Stefan and Tara watching their dad on TV as he thrashed Rafael Nadal in straight sets.

The Serb world number one had just lifted the Norman Brookes trophy for a record seventh time, after completing a Wimbledon, Flushing Meadows and Melbourne Park hat-trick that would have seemed scarcely possible this time past year.

The numbers at the end of the match depicted a similar story.

Spain's Rafael Nadal rests in his chair during a break in his match against Serbia's Novak Djokovic in the men's singles final at the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019.

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.

With the official speeches and presentation done, the ball kids of the tournament were invited on court at the Rod Laver Arena for a once in a lifetime opportunity to be photographed with Djokovic and the winners' trophy.

If Nadal had continued with the same mentality in the final, he would have, at the very least, given Djokovic something to think about.

"At the same time, it's quite different playing against me, me against him".

One could argue Djokovic - a man who has reigned supreme at Melbourne Park six times in 11 years - had earned a right to be arrogant going into his seventh Aussie Open semi-final against Frenchman Lucas Pouille. "You have a lot of great players that on clay can challenge me or anybody else". I love them very much.

Djokovic had two break points in what proved to be the final game of the match and wrapped up another Australian Open title when Nadal sent a backhand long - his 28th unforced error of the contest.

When it was all said and done, the history books will have recorded a dominant win for Djokovic but speaking with the media following the match, Nadal was keen to refute suggestions nerves were responsible for his under-par performance on the court.

The author is a freelance sportswriter based in Karachi.

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