Novak Djokovic claimed a record seventh Australian Open crown on Sunday as he demolished Rafael Nadal 6-3 6-2 6-3 in his most dominant Grand Slam win in his long rivalry with the Spaniard.
The peerless Serb broke Nadal five times at a stunned Rod Laver Arena while conceding only a single break point to clinch his 15th Grand Slam title and third in succession after winning Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
The pair’s 53rd Tour clash and eighth in a major final was not the marathon battle it was expected to be, as top seed Djokovic bulldozed through the first two sets with machine-like precision and wrapped up the match in just over two hours.
Sealing the win on the second championship point when a desperate Nadal fired a backhand long, Djokovic kneeled on the blue hardcourt and shook his fists at the sky, letting out a roar of triumph.
“I am just trying to contemplate on the journey in the last 12 months,” Djokovic said beaming at the trophy ceremony.
“Like Rafa, I had surgery exactly 12 months ago, and to be standing now here in front of you today and managing to win this title and managing to win three out of four slams is amazing. I am speechless.”
Having moved past Roger Federer and Roy Emerson’s six titles to take sole ownership of the record, Djokovic took back his mantle as master of Melbourne Park.
On the strength of his annihilation of Nadal, a 17-times Grand Slam champion who had entered the final in outrageous form, Djokovic’s Australian haul appears set to grow in coming years.
Blitzed from the start, Nadal could only congratulate an opponent that condemned him to his worst Grand Slam defeat in their long rivalry.
“It has been very emotional two weeks. Even if tonight was not my best, I had somebody that played much better,” said the 32-year-old.
“I am going to keep fighting hard, going to keep working hard to be a better player every time, for the good things in life.”