Last February 21 marked the end of the 109th edition of the Australian Open with Serbian ace Novak Djokovic prevailing over Daniil Medvedev of Russia in straight sets, 7-5, 6-2, 6-2.
It was an unusual Australian Open as health restrictions were very stringent with all participants being quarantined in a hotel for two weeks upon arrival at Melbourne. On top of this, participants needed to produce negative COVID-19 test results before being cleared to play in the event. The same goes for spectators. Thousands of fans were actually able to witness the Open but not after producing negative test results.
Back at the court, it was business as usual for Djokovic, who was expected to vie for his ninth Australian Open title. Before reaching the final he had to overcome six other foes. Djokovic defeated Jeremy Chardy of France (6-3, 6-1, 6-2) and Frances Tiafoe of the USA (6-3, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3) in his first two matches, before squaring off with Taylor Fritz of the USA (7-6, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2) who put up a gallant stand but could not prevent the Serbian from barging into the round of 16.
Djokovic then faced off with fourteenth-seeded Milos Raonic of Canada and managed to win in 7-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals. He then defeated Alexander Zverev of Germany (6-7, 6-2, 6-4, 7-6) to advance to the semi-final. An unseeded Aslan Karatsev of Russia proved too easy a matchup for the top-ranked player as he cruised past Karatsev in straight sets (6-3, 6-4, 6-2) to reach the final.
There was much excitement for the final as Djokovic and Medvedev always had long rallies in previous face-offs. But after a tightly contested first set where Djokovic prevailed in 7-5, he pulled away comfortably winning in 6-2 for the second and third sets to successfully claim his 9th Australian Open title.
On the distaff side, rising star Naomi Osaka of Japan defeated Jennifer Brady of the USA in two sets, 6-4, 6-3, to win the Australian Open title. Osaka also had to overcome tennis legend Serena Williams of the USA (6-3, 6-4) in the semi-final to reach the final.
Winners of both the Men’s and Women’s Singles events were awarded AU$2,750,000 each while runners-up went home with AU$ 1,500,000 each. The total prize purse for the tournament was AU$80 million.
With this title, Djokovic increased his Grand Slam trophies to 18, just two behind Roger Federer of Switzerland and Rafael Nadal of Spain. He has also won 82 professional tennis trophies so far – a remarkable feat. Djokovic maintained his No. 1 world ranking with more than US$148 million in earnings from professional tennis tournaments. He first reached the No. 1 ranking way back in 2011 and, after over a decade, still maintains the rank, despite a few years sliding to No. 2.
Djokovic is one of a select few to win in Grand Slam tournaments every year for 11 consecutive years. He turned pro in 2003, and has won many titles since 2006. In 2011, he collected ten trophies from ATP tours. But his most successful year was 2015 where he won 11 prestigious trophies. Experts believe that in the past decade, he was the most successful tennis player in the world despite the presence of clear competitors in Federer and Nadal. Thus, he was named the best tennis player of the decade and, arguably, the best tennis player in history.
Edited by Aldo Tong