Novak Djokovic solidified his place as the best player in tennis today by capturing the men’s singles championship at the 2015 Australian Open, defeating Andy Murray 7-6 (5) 6-7 (4) 6-3 6-0. It was the second straight bagel closing set for Djokovic, following the 6-0 fifth set he dropped on Stan Wawrinka in the semifinals. The Serbian superstar now owns 5 Australian Open singles title and 8 Major singles titles overall. The 8 Majors ties Nole with Ivan Lendl, Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Ken Rosewall and Fred Perry for 8th on the all-time men’s singles Majors list. Djoker was already a future Hall of Famer, but now he is entering rarefied air. At 27 and healthy, he clearly has a shot at double digit singles Majors. Next to catch would be Bill Tilden at 10. Whether he can reach players like Roger Federer (17 and counting), Rafael Nadal (14 and counting), Pete Sampras (14), Roy Emerson (12), Bjorn Borg (11) and Rod Laver (11) is beside the point. That Nole could even enter conversations with the very highest pantheon of tennis gods is an achievement in itself. Some might argue that he’s already there. If he reaches double digits I can’t imagine he wants to do so bereft of a Roland Garros title. Other great champions like Sampras (Roland Garros) and Borg (US Open) have Majors they didn’t win (I don’t count Borg not having won Australia…a lot of players didn’t even make the trip down under back in those days). So it’s not as if Nole would be alone with one Major missing. Not everybody wins the Career Grand Slam. Future Hall of Famer Maria Sharapova has won the Career Grand Slam, but her resume is not as great as that of Djokovic. Rafael Nadal has owned Roland Garros in his career. Although Nole is set to defend his title as the reigning Wimbledon champion this summer, I have to believe his season is being set-up to give him the best chance possible to win the one Major title that has eluded him.
Speaking of legends, Martina Hingis and Leander Paes teamed up to win the 2015 Australian Open mixed doubles crown, taking out the 3rd seeded Kristina Mladenovic and Daniel Nestor 6-4 6-3. If you don’t follow tennis closely, you might not know that Paes is every bit the doubles ace that Hingis is. Leander has 8 men’s doubles Majors, including a Career Grand Slam, and 7 mixed doubles Majors. Like Hingis, he is also a former world #1 in doubles. This is Martina’s 2nd Major mixed doubles title (both at the Australian Open) to go along with 9 women’s doubles Majors (including the career Grand Slam) and 5 singles Majors. Only Roland Garros escaped her in singles, finishing twice as runner-up. The time Martina and Leander spent as teammates playing World Team Tennis for the Washington Kastles (that’s how they spell it) had to be a big help. They are both doubles savants and with that time together they could establish trust. Paes spoke afterwards about Hingis suggesting a change of strategy during the final and him having the trust in her to comply. This is a team that has more Majors in them. The doubles comeback of Martina Hingis has turned out to be an amazing success. I hope it continues.
ALL PICS CLICK TO ENLARGE
1 NOVAK DJOKOVIC (won 7-6 (5) 6-7 (4) 6-3 6-0 vs 6 Andy Murray)
7 MARTINA HINGIS/LEANDER PAES (won 6-4 6-3 vs 3 KRISTINA MLADENOVIC/DANIEL NESTOR)