At the 2019 Australian Open, Novak Djokovic won his 15th Major title to face Pete Sampras, his idol. In the quarterfinals, Novak lost just one set to Daniil Medvedev and Denis Shapovalov before stepping up his game and winning his sixth Australian Open title.
Rafael Nadal was defeated by Djokovic in the championship match 6-3, 6-2, 6-3, earning him the victory and handing Nadal his most difficult loss in Major finals. When reflecting on the match, Novak said he was pleased with the way he beat Rafa, giving a flawless performance and following all the rules against such a great champion.
Prior to the championship match, Nadal had not lost a set, had only experienced two breaks in six encounters, and appeared to be in good shape to capture the Australian Open for the first time in ten years. The Spaniard’s only issue, as usual, was that Djokovic was never an average opponent for him; since the US Open final of 2013, he hadn’t been able to defeat him off clay.
Since Beijing that year, Djokovic had dominated Nadal with 13 victories in 16 games, expanding the head-to-head advantage to 28-25 after Melbourne. Nadal was totally helpless in the face of Djokovic‘s masterful effort, as the Serb led from the opening point to the conclusion.
By masterfully striking from both sides of the court and opening up the court, Novak kept things moving along while forcing the Spaniard out of his comfort zone to dominate his forehand and other shots. Rafa got into a lot of difficulties because he couldn’t figure out how to make his shots count.
Forehand-backhand rallies that Djokovic was able to sustain all day long without missing a beat or losing pace while firing missiles from all wings left Nadal defenseless were difficult for Nadal to handle. On that particular day, Rafa’s first serve was nonexistent, as he won 51% of the points after it connected.
Although he performed better on his second serve, he still gave up five breaks in the eight opportunities that Novak provided.
McEnroe discusses Djokovic.
In an interview with our Tennis365 colleagues on the occasion of the release of his documentary, in which he specifically disclosed that Donald Trump had made him an inappropriate challenge to Serena Williams, John McEnroe went back to Novak Djokovic‘s exceptionally special season and in particular to his unconventional mind.
“Novak has class; he didn’t get the praise he deserves. Although I disagree with his choice to forgo vaccination, I appreciate her option. He is one of the fittest men in the world, and he pays meticulous attention to everything he takes into his body.
It’s sad that he found himself in a circumstance where he was a railway disaster victim. A complete failure. Are you kidding me, to the extent that he was expelled from Australia? I admire him even more for moving past those things because of how terrible it all turned out.
He has to be the mentally toughest tennis player I have ever observed. Although (Rafael) Nadal is a beast of an athlete, Djokovic is a phenomenal mental player. What he can handle and yet perform at this incredible level.”