On Sunday, Novak Djokovic won his second Australian Open title with a superb performance, spectacular in flashes, against Andy Murray. Murray’s own display was below-par, make no mistake, but he is an excellent tennis player who ultimately ran into a far better one today. Djokovic played an incredible championship, and demonstrated not only the supreme standards of his own game, but also the clear gulf in quality between the top three and the rest of the field. Murray may have, in very disappointing fashion, gone missing in his third consecutive Grand Slam final, but at the moments when Djokovic was required by his opponent to show his true quality, he did not disappoint.
Over the past twelve months Djokovic has overcome problems with his serve and fitness to make considerable improvements to his game. He is now good enough to fulfil his early promise as a contender to the Federer/Nadal dominance, a remarkable feat considering the bar the latter two have set over the past two years. Most crucially to Djokovic’s win was his ultimately unstoppable all-round game, which he continued to raise according to the standard of his opponent. He would reach balls considered unlikely by the extraordinary standards of Nadal, maintaining balance in order for him to unleash with his next shot; his huge baseline game was unplayable – in this facet he has now eclipsed Federer; and players of considerable quality – Berdych (who managed to reach the levels of his Wimbledon final last year), Federer and Murray – never looked close to beating him over 5 sets. He beat each of them in three.