Nostalgic Tour: The Seven Australian Open Titles of Novak Djokovic

When it comes to the Australian Open, there’s no one better than Novak Djokovic. The Serbian has a special relationship with Australia having won seven Grand Slam titles in Melbourne along with two Hopman Cup finals in Perth. If early Australian Open 2020 betting odds are correct, he could continue to break records in winning an eighth. After all, he has a special relationship with Australia.

Nole completes the ‘big three’ of men’s singles players, and currently has a total of 16 Grand Slam titles. But with injuries and age not on the sides of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, the ATP world number 2 has the potential of toppling his rivals.

Success in the first Grand Slam of the calendar year would go some way in trying to match or better the target of 20 titles, set by Federer. But ahead of the 2020 tournament, let’s take a look back at Djokovic’s previous Australian Open victories.

2008: A first major win

After reaching his first-ever final at the 2007 US Open, Nole went one better in Melbourne, winning his maiden Grand Slam title. It was the first time in three years that a major final wasn’t contested by Nadal or Federer, with Djokovic defeating the Swiss ace in the semi-final.

Djokovic faced unseeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final and after losing the first set, he soon found his stride, going on to win 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(7-2) to become the first Serbian tennis player to win a Grand Slam title.

Novak Djokovic

2011-13: A hat-trick of successes

Once again, Djokovic’s 2011 win at the Australian Open came off the back of a runner-up finish at the US Open. His opponent this time was Andy Murray, but like his previous win, the Serbian knocked out Federer at the semi-final stage. It took just three sets for Nole to win his second major title, as he beat the fifth seed 6-4, 6-2, 6-3. 2011 went on to be a good year, as Djokovic also won the Wimbledon and US Open titles, setting him up as a favorite for the 2012 Melbourne tournament.

In 2012, Djokovic managed to avoid Federer and instead, met Murray at the semi-final stage. Beating the Scot over a bumper five-set match, the reigning champion faced Nadal in the final. The two played out the longest finals match in Australian Open – and tennis Grand Slam – history. After five hours and 53 minutes and a fourth-set tie-break, Djokovic successfully defended his title 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7(5-7), 7-5.

After failing to win any other majors that year, but reaching two finals, there was mounting pressure on Djokovic to retain his Australian Open title for the third year. In doing so, not only did the Serbian retain his ATP number 1 ranking, but he also became the first man in the Open Era to win three successive titles in Melbourne.

It was an old foe, Murray, once again who contested the final and was on the losing end of a thrilling match. Djokovic won his hat-trick of titles in some style: 6-7(2-7), 7-6(7-3), 6-3, 6-2.

2015-16: Back-to-back wins for Novak Djokovic

In 2014, Nole reached the French Open final and won Wimbledon immediately after. At the Australian Open, however, Stan Wawrinka knocked him out in quarters.

Novak returned the next year and exacted revenge from Wawrinka for the 2014 loss in the 2015 semis to set-up yet another final with Murray. It was another exciting end to the tournament, with Murray on the end of a 7-6(7-5), 6-7(4-7), 6-3, 6-0 defeat.

2016 final was a repeat of the 2015 one with Djokovic and Murray facing each other once for the title. Unfortunately for the Scot, it was a fifth defeat in an Australian Open final.  In fact, he holds the record for the most major final losses without having won the title.

For Djokovic, it was a record-equaling sixth victory. The match wasn’t quite as long as their previous finals. Nole won in straight sets: 6-1, 7-5, 7-6(7-3).

2019: A record seventh AO title for Novak Djokovic

Djokovic’s most recent success came when he won his seventh Australian Open title and 15th Grand Slam. With this feat, he also surpassed Pete Sampras in the all-time Grand Slam winner standings.

He had a decent run, facing a qualifier and wild card in the earliest stages. His path got easier when his quarter-final opponent Kei Nishikori retired due to injury.

After beating 28th seed Lucas Pouille in the semi-final, he faced long-term nemesis, Nadal, once again. It was a three-set formality for Nole who won 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 to deny the Spaniard the ATP number 1 spot and another major title.

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Dhruv George