February 21, 2021


There's no question the greatest stars in tennis know how to turn it up when it counts the most. And that's just what Novak Djokovic did Sunday to win his record ninth Australian Open title.

The undisputed King of Melbourne Park didn't have the easiest road this year, battling an injury in the third round that forced him to five sets against Taylor Fritz and made him question whether he could continue. He dropped sets to Frances Tiafoe, Milos Raonic, and Alexander Zverev too, arguably one of the least dominant paths to the final he's ever had here. And in order to take home the trophy, he'd face off against one of the hottest guys on tour at the moment.

Enough can't be said about Daniil Medvedev's twenty-match win streak going into today's championship. Of course Nole's had his own long runs over the years, but the Russian's included a dozen victories over players ranked in the top ten, even one over Djokovic himself -- not only was he winning, he was beating the best.

But in Sunday's final, it was experience that won out. After a tight first set with traded breaks near the top, it was all Novak. He ran his opponent from corner to corner, dominated at the net, and allowed few chances on his serve. After less than an unexpectedly straightforward two hours, Djokovic had earned himself his eighteenth career Grand Slam.

The win not only establishes his reign Down Under, and brings him within two titles of Roger and Rafa's Major records, but further cements the stranglehold the Big Three have at these events. Since 2005, there have only been three Slam finals which didn't feature at least one of them, and 22 that had two. Together they've won 58 of the last 70 trophies. Sure players like Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem have made inroads, but we still appear to be far away from anyone posing a consistent threat.

Medvedev, though, showed a lot of promise, and it's not just lip service to think he'll be one of the guys breaking through the barrier eventually. But if we've learned anything, it's that it'll be a while before that wall truly comes tumbling down.

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