History spurred Djokovic to Australian hat-trick

History spurred Djokovic to Australian hat-trick

History spurred Djokovic to Australian hat-trick

Updated 28 January 2013, 11:31 AEDT

Novak Djokovic says the chance to make history with a third consecutive Australian Open title spurred him on against Andy Murray.

Novak Djokovic said he was motivated by going into the history books as the winner of three consecutive Australian Open titles after he mastered his rival Andy Murray in the final on Sunday.

The Serbian world number one became the first man in the Open era and only the third ever to win three straight Australian titles, joining Australians Jack Crawford (1931-33) and five-time winner Roy Emerson (1963-67).

Djokovic confirmed his number one ranking and his pre-eminence as the greatest player in the world with his fourth Australian crown and sixth grand slam title overall.

He bounced back from losing to Murray in September's US Open final by winning 6-7 (7-2), 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 6-2 in 3hr 40min, coming out clearly on top in the physically demanding battle with the Scottish third seed.

Djokovic received the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup from four-time winner Andre Agassi, and is among the names of other legendary champions like Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer and Emerson on the trophy.

"What more motivation do you need than from this trophy?" Djokovic told journalists, with the trophy alongside him.

Just seeing it and reading the names of the winners in the last 50, 100 years, it's incredible. To be also mentioned in the history aspect, and winning three in a row, it's a huge achievement.

Novak Djokovic

"Just seeing it and reading the names of the winners in the last 50, 100 years, it's incredible. To be also mentioned in the history aspect, and winning three in a row, it's a huge achievement."

This year's final may not have been as physically taxing as last year's record 5hr 53min victory over Rafael Nadal, but Djokovic once again showed his extraordinary stamina to grind down the muscular Scot.

"I didn't expect an easy match. You never get the grand slam trophy in an easy way. You have to earn it. I'm very glad that I'm sitting next to it (trophy) now," he said.

"When you play one of your biggest rivals and somebody that is in the top form in finals of a grand slam, there is a lot to play for.

"The first two sets went for I think two hours 20 minutes. I think that says enough about the intensity of the match.

"I knew that it was going to be physically very demanding, a lot of long rallies, so I needed to hang in there."

Djokovic said a turning point was in the second game of the second set when he was serving down love-40 against the breeze.

"Andy missed a few shots. I managed to have that crucial hold and after that I felt just mentally a little bit lighter and more confident on the court than I've done in the first hour or so," he said.

Djokovic shunned celebrations and was instead taking an early-hours flight back to Europe to prepare for Serbia's opening Davis Cup tie against Belgium in Charleroi this weekend.

"It's going to be a lot of fun next weekend to see how I can adjust to clay court in indoor conditions, playing away Davis Cup, which is always tricky," he said.

Djokovic added that one of his early targets this year was breaking through at Roland Garros and winning his first French Open title on clay.

"I want to go all the way in the French Open. I went to the final last year and had a great match against Rafa (Nadal), but he's always the favorite on that surface and he's the ultimate player to beat on clay," he said.

"But I think if I continue on playing well, stay healthy, I can have a chance."

Feather a problem

Meanwhile his vanquished opponent Murray refused to blame his blisters and hamstring trouble for defeat in the final - but he admitted a falling feather may have played a role.

The world number three initially looked firmly in control, but a blunder in the second-set tie-breaker helped hand the momentum to Djokovic, who never gave it back.

US Open champion Murray, a set up and 2-2 in the tie-breaker, halted in the middle of a second serve to catch a white feather as it floated to the ground.

No one's ever won a Slam, the immediate one after winning their first one. It's not the easiest thing to do. And I got extremely close.

Andy Murray

It broke his concentration and he double-faulted, helping Djokovic win the set. The Serb then reeled off the third and fourth sets for victory as Murray was increasingly hampered by foot blisters and a tight hamstring.

Afterwards, Murray conceded that stopping for the feather, from one of dozens of white seagulls flying around Rod Laver Arena, may have been a mistake.

"I mean, I could have served. It just caught my eye before I served. I thought it was a good idea to move it," Murray said late on Sunday.

"Maybe it wasn't because I obviously double-faulted. No, you know, at this level it can come down to just a few points here or there."

Murray missed out on becoming the only man to win his first two major titles back-to-back. But the Briton, who wept when he lost the 2010 Melbourne final and last year's Wimbledon decider, took his defeat calmly.

"No one's ever won a Slam, the immediate one after winning their first one. It's not the easiest thing to do. And I got extremely close," he said.

"So I have to try and look at the positives of the last few months, and I think I'm going in the right direction."

AFP