(February 1, 2015) Novak Djokovic won his fifth Australian Open on Sunday with a 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-0 victory over Andy Murray in 3 hours and 39 minutes. The world No. 1 now has 8 major titles tying him for eighth on the all-time list with Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Ken Rosewall and Fred Perry.
The Serb has won four out of the last five Australian Opens. He now joins Roy Emerson as the only men to win five Melbourne titles and the first to do it in the Open Era.
Djokovic closed out the match winning the last nine games.
Great Britain’s Murray has now lost four Australian Open finals, three to Djokovic (2011, 2013, 2015) and one to Roger Federer (2010).
“I’m so grateful to be standing here as a champion for the fifth time, and to be in the elite group of players… Roy Emerson, Rod Laver and all the legends of our sport,” Djokovic during the trophy presentation.
“I had amazing support again here,” said the four-time runner-up Murray. “It’s been my most consistent Grand Slam of my career. I haven’t been quite able to win, but the support I’ve received here has been amazing. I’ll try and come back next year and hopefully have a slightly different outcome in the final.”
“Novak has won five times here now. There’s no disgrace obviously in losing to him. So, yeah, a lot of positives for me to take from it.”
The first two sets took two hours and 32 minutes, saw break leads vanish for both men. Djokovic broke Murray in the fourth game of the first set, but Murray returned the break to get even. Djokovic broke serve in the eighth game and served for the set, but the Scot put the set back on even terms.
The set eventually went to a tiebreaker, with Murray taking a 2-1 mini-break lead. Djokovic won 5 out of the next 6 points to swing the tiebreaker in his favor.
The second set saw Djokovic save a set point in the 10th game. Murray dominated the second set tiebreaker.
The match was interrupted in the second set during the seventh game when someone protesting Australia’s refugee policies ran on the court and was removed by security.
The pendulum of momentum made its final swing towards Djokovic, when he broke Murray’s serve at love in the eighth game of the third set. Murray showed his displeasure by throwing his racquet and yelling into a towel.
“There were a lot of turning points in the match. As I think everybody predicted, it was going to be a big battle,” Djokovic said. “Of course, Grand Slam finals for both of us, regardless of the record that I have here, and him playing also three times the final not winning a title, regardless of that, we both knew that, you know, we have equal chances to win it. Very similar match to the Australian Open final in 2013 when we played over two hours the first two sets. Tonight two and a half hours the first two sets. Very physical. Very exhausting. We both of course went through some tough moments physically. You could see that I had a crisis end of the second, beginning of the third. Just felt very exhausted and I needed some time to regroup and recharge and get back on track. That’s what I’ve done. I started hitting ball and trying to be a little bit more aggressive coming to the net, shortening the points. I got a very important break of serve at 2-Love for him in the third that got me back in the match mentally, as well. It was a cat-and-mouse fight. It always is. We always try to outplay the opponents with the groundstrokes, with the long rallies, a lot of variety in the games: spin, flat, slice, dropshots. I think both went out with the full repertoire of the shots we have. I hope everybody that watched it enjoyed the finals. From my side it was definitely very exhausting. Just glad that I believed it all the way through. Saved some breakpoints at 3-All in the third set and managed to make that break and win the third. After that I felt huge relief. I felt I could swing through the ball. I felt the momentum was on my side and I wanted to use that. At this level very few points can turn things around on the court as we could see tonight.”
“Obviously had opportunities in the first three sets,” Murray said. “Then the fourth set, I mean, obviously I need to watch it back to see if I played badly. I mean, he was just ripping everything. Returns he was hitting on the baseline, this far from the line all the time. Once he got up a break, he just loosened up and was just going for his shots. I couldn’t recover. So the fourth set wasn’t as frustrating to me. The third set was frustrating because I got a bit distracted when he, like, fell on the ground after a couple of shots. It appeared that he was cramping, and then I let that distract me a little bit. That’s what I’m most disappointed about, not so much the fourth set because I think, especially at the end of it, he was just going for everything, and it was going in. But the third set was more frustrating for me.”
Djokovic appeared to have an issue with his leg in the third set, which looked as though it distracted Murray.
“I have no idea what the issue was,” Murray commented. “He obviously looked like he was in quite a bad way at the beginning of the third set and came back unbelievable at the end of that set. Then obviously the way he was hitting the ball in the fourth and moving was impressive. So, yeah, I don’t know exactly what the issue was for him.
“If it was cramp, how he recovered from it, that’s a tough thing to recover from and play as well as he did at the end. So, yeah, I’m frustrated at myself for letting that bother me at the beginning of the third set, because I was playing well, I had good momentum, and then just dropped off for like 10 minutes and it got away from me. So that’s the most frustrating thing because I thought I obviously had opportunities in the first set. I couldn’t quite get them. I managed to sneak the second. Then obviously was that break up in the third”
“I think it has deeper meaning, more intrinsic value now to my life because I’m a father and a husband,” the Serb said of the win. “It’s the first Grand Slam title I won as a father and a husband. Just feel very, very proud of it.
“I try to stay on the right path and committed to this sport in every possible way that I have had in the last couple of years and try to use this prime time of my career really where I’m playing and feeling the best at 27. This is why I play the sport, you know, to win big titles and to put myself in a position to, you know, play also for the people around me. I know how much sacrifice they put in in my own career, and I try to thank them and not take anything for granted. As my life progresses, there are circumstances, situations, events that define these beautiful moments. Getting married and becoming a father in the last six months was definitely something that gave me a new energy, something that I never felt before. And right now everything has been going in such a positive direction in my life. I’m so grateful for that. So I try to live these moments with, you know, all my heart.”
Murray’s ranking will move up to No. 4 in the world when the rankings are released on Monday.