Australian Open – After his victory in Adelaide, is Novak Djokovic invincible?

Australian Open – After his victory in Adelaide, is Novak Djokovic invincible?

We had to rub our eyes and check again. Who was this offensive player, able to take the net on a match point against him and finish with a perfect off-center technical smash? Novak Djokovic, really? Yes, it was him, the marathon runner from the baseline with real deficiencies on the high balls transformed, for the space of an oh so hot point, into an attacker from the first hour. If we had to choose a turning point in the final won by the Serb this Sunday against Sebastian Korda (6-7, 7-6, 6-4), it would obviously be this one.

Disturbed by the light, bothered by suffering hamstrings since his semi-final and frankly shaken by the young American, Novak Djokovic decided to take his destiny into his own hands when it was needed. “Some feel more comfortable playing a serve and volley in these conditions, others prefer to be more conservative… It really depends on the moment, your opponent and your feelings“, he first explained about this unusual choice for him.

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16th game won after a match point against him

His 48th match point saved in his career will therefore have enabled him to win a 16th match after suffering one or more match points. Korda therefore joins a long list of victims, those who failed to kill the wounded beast and who ended up being devoured. A virtuous circle for the Serb, now convinced that his record in the exercise is also improving because he has managed to enter the brains of all the players on the circuit.

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I think it’s also something more present than before in the minds of opponentshe rightly argued. This is exactly what I want. I want them to know that whatever the score, I’m always there, I’m always going to fight until the last point, that I can turn it all around. So stepping onto the court against any player who knows everything I’m capable of is an advantage.“.

Sebastian Korda did not say the opposite after the fact. Facing Djokovic, he believed in it. But between believing and doing, the gap is still huge in the face of the sacred monsters of the circuit. “It’s one thing to say it, it’s another thing to actually feel it on the courthe explained. It was the same during my first Roland-Garros where I faced Nadal (in 2020, editor’s note). I thought I could do well but, deep down, I knew I was playing against the best in history on the surface“. The analogy makes sense. Because, on Australian soil, Djokovic is an unbeatable king, or almost.

Novak Djokovic, titled in Adelaide, smirk – 08/01/2023

Credit: Imago

“I couldn’t ask for better preparation”

His last defeat in the Antipodes now dates back to 2018, against the lost Chung Hyeon. Another era, another Djokovic. Since then, it’s 34 victories in a row in the country. Above all, between the end of 2022 and the start of 2023, he has a record of 23 wins in his last 24 matches, only beaten by a Holger Rune in a state of grace at Bercy. So much so that at the start of this new Australian Open, the world number 5 has the false air of number 1 who does not say his name. His return to Australia coincided with a rise to prominence that delighted him.

Frankly, it was five great matcheshe admitted at a press conference. The last three especially but not only. In the second round, I won on two tie-breaks against Halys who played very well. Then there was Shapovalov, Medvedev and Korda, who is on fire right now, playing at a very high level and hitting very well. So I couldn’t ask for better preparation before the Australian Open.“.

In short, before tackling his favorite tournament, last year’s episode has been digested, his level of play has completely returned, his body seems to be responding and his motivation to beat the rest of the circuit, especially the youngest, seems intact. “Nobody is invincible,” he wanted to temporize this Sunday. No one except him?

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