Novak Djokovic Rallies Past Dominic Thiem for 8th Australian Open Trophy for 17th Major Title
(February 2, 2020) Novak Djokovic captured his eighth Australian Open title on Sunday night in Melbourne Park overcoming Austria’s Dominic Thiem 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 to take his 17th major trophy. His victory over Thiem moves the Serb back up to No. 1 in the world, jumping over Rafael Nadal. It will be his 276th week atop the ATP rankings.
Coming into the match, Djokovic had only dropped one set in the tournament, in the first round.
“It wasn’t meant to be tonight,” Djokovic said to Thiem during the trophy ceremony. “Tough luck and it was a tough match, but you were very close to winning it and you definitely have a lot more time in your career and I’m sure that you will get one of the Grand Slam trophies. More than one.”
“It’s unreal what you and your team are doing, throughout all these years,” the 26-year-old Thiem said in accepting the finalist’s trophy. “You, and also two other guys (Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer) have brought men’s tennis to a complete new level and I’m really proud and happy to compete and be a part of these times. I fell short today, but I hope to get revenge soon.
“I have experienced such huge support throughout these two weeks. It is one of the best events in all sports and I am looking forward to returning next year.”
“He was a better player,” said Djokovic to media. “Probably one point and one shot separated us tonight. Could have gone another way.”
Djokovic’s thoughts turned to more about life than about just winning a mere tennis title. He talked about the Kobe Bryant as he spoke to the crowd after the match. Djokovic considered the late Laker star a mentor and wore a green jacket on court which said “KB 8 24,” followed by a heart to honor him.
“With huge bush fires here in Australia. Conflicts in some parts of the world, people dying every day. Obviously one person that I considered close in my life, and who was a mentor to me, Kobe Bryant, passed away as well with his daughter,” Djokovic told the crowd at Rod Laver Arena. “I would just like to say that this is a reminder to all of us that we should stick together more than ever. Be with our families. Stay close to the people that love you, that care about you.”
“Of course we’re part of professional sport. We compete. We try out best but obviously there are more important things in life,” he said. “And it’s important to be conscious and humble about things that are happening around you.”
Djokovic stand behind Roger Federer (20) and Rafael Nadal (19), with 17 major titles.
Despite the loss, Thiem will move up in the rankings to No. 4 in the world.