Same old story as Murray left empty-handed
It was a familiar story for Andy Murray in Melbourne. At the fourth time of asking he once again came up against the might of Novak Djokovic who taunted his biggest rival to take his sixth Australian Open title in straight sets.
The Serb’s ruthless 6-1, 7-5, 7-6 (7-3) demolition of the Scot in two hours 53 minutes meant he equalled Roy Emerson’s record of victories in the tournament and secured an 11th win the past 12 meetings between the world’s top two players.
Djokovic is now surely a contender for best ever player, though he has struggled to win over the public’s support, even finding his faults applauded during last year’s US Open final.
Few, however can dispute his current status as king of the court. He has 11 Grand Slam titles, equalling the Australian Rod Laver and Swede Bjorn Borg, and should overtake Rafael Nadal’s 14 this year before targeting the one-time seemingly invincible Roger Federer’s 17.
Despite his early stumbles in this tournament Djokovic made light work of the Scot who scored only five points in the first 20 minutes of the match. By winning the first set 6-1 the world number one appeared to be proving the theory that far from there being a dominant top four there is, in reality, a dominant top one.
Murray had been in good form coming into his fifth Australian final, but many of his former weaknesses quickly reasserted a hold on his play, not least the impetuous self-abuse in response to a missed shot or opportunity.
Afterwards, Murray turned the abuse into self-deprecating humour. “I feel like I’ve been here before. Congratulations Novak, six Australian Opens, an incredible feat, and incredible consistency the last year.
“Thanks to my own team, too. Sorry I didn’t get it done tonight, it’s been a tough few weeks for me away from the court, and I thank you all for your support. It’s very, very tough for me right now but I do appreciate playing in front of all you people. Amazing atmosphere.
“Finally, to my wife Kim, who’s going to be watching back home. You’ve been a legend the past two weeks. Thanks for your support and I’ll be on the next flight home.”
Sadly, he won’t be accompanied by the trophy that looks like it will continue to elude him as long as his nemesis remains fit and enthusiastic for success.
He also equalled an unwanted record, becoming only the second man to lose five finals at the same grand slam, sharing that dubious distinction with former coach Ivan Lendl who lost five US Open finals.