IN YEARS past, Novak Djokovic marked his victories at the Australian Open with rowdy late-night celebrations and bleary-eyed photo shoots the next morning in downtown Melbourne. This year’s win made history but inspired a more sober reaction.
After beating Andy Murray to become the only man to win three consecutive Australian Open titles, the No 1-ranked player had no time for immediate celebration. Instead, he booked an early Monday flight home to start getting in shape for the clay courts of Europe.
He now has six grand slam tournament trophies altogether, including four overall from the Australian Open and one each from Wimbledon and the US Open in 2011. He came close last year at the French Open but lost in the final to clay-court master Rafael Nadal.
“Of course, I want to go all the way in the French Open,” Djokovic said at his post-match conference just after midnight.
His goal for the year is a big one, he said, when asked if he would choose a Roland Garros title over his No 1-ranking. “I’ll take everything,” the 25-year-old Djokovic said. “I have no reason not to be confident in myself.”
In his 6-7 (2-7), 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 6-2 victory over Murray on Sunday, he showed his mental toughness and supreme fitness in a match that contained riveting rallies between two of the best returners in the game. “I’m full of joy right now,” Djokovic added. “It’s going to give me a lot of confidence for the rest of the season.”
The season resumes next weekend with Serbia’s Davis Cup tie against Belgium, and Djokovic flew home early so he could celebrate with the people closest to him. “You don’t get many opportunities to win grand slams. That’s a pinnacle of the ambitions and of the success,” he said. “So I (will) try to enjoy it for a few days with the people I love the most – family, friends and team.”