Serbian Tennis Icon Novak Djokovic captured a record-extending eighth Australian Open title playing against Austrian Dominic Thiem.
Serbian Tennis Icon star fought back to beat fifth-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 over three hours and 59 minutes in Sunday’s final for his 17th Grand Slam championship crown.
Only Roger Federer (20) and Rafael Nadal (19) have won more major singles titles in the sport’s history.
The Big Three has now won 13 consecutive majors and 56 of the past 67.
“I would like to start by saying congratulations to Dominic for an amazing tournament,” said Djokovic, during the on-court ceremony.
“It wasn’t meant to be tonight. 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.”
Djokovic capitalised on early nerves to win the first set against Thiem, who had won four of their past five ATP Head2Head meetings, but at 4-4 in the second set, Djokovic first warned by the chair umpire for a service time violation.
It shook the concentration of the Serbian. He received a shot clock time violation for a second time that resulted in him forfeiting a first serve. Djokovic struck an 85 miles per hour second serve, then mis-timed a forehand to give Thiem the break. The Austrian stretched the lead to 4-0 in the third set, with Djokovic needing treatment from a doctor and trainer to hydrate.
Thiem looked to have the measure of Djokovic, but at 3-4 in the fourth set, the momentum swung again. This time, Thiem struck an easy forehand drop volley into the net that would have given the Austrian a commanding 30/0 lead in the game.
Sensing an opportunity, and helped by a double fault, Djokovic broke for a 5-3 lead and soon gained an early service break in the deciding set. Djokovic, who won 33 of 38 first-service points in the fourth and fifth sets, saved two break points at 2-1 in the fifth set as Thiem’s forehand faltered. Sixteen unforced errors, in addition to just seven of 29 return points won in the decider, cost 26-year-old Thiem at the most crucial times.
“Probably one point and one shot separated us tonight. Could have gone a different way. I served and volleyed when I was facing a break point in the fourth and in the fifth. It worked both of the times. It could have also been different. Serve and volley is not something I’m accustomed to. I’m not really doing that that often,” Djokovic said. “I kind of recognised that as an important tactic in those circumstances, and I’m really happy it worked.”
Thiem, who had also finished runner-up to Nadal at Roland Garros in 2018 and 2019, has now won seven of his 11 matches against the Big 3 of Nadal (2-2), Novak Djokovic (2-2) and Roger Federer (3-0) since the start of 2019.
“I would like to start by saying a huge congrats to Novak, an amazing achievement,” said Thiem, in the on-court ceremony. “It’s unreal what you and your team are doing, throughout all these years.
“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.”
The final was watched by a record 31,020 spectators on Rod Laver Arena and outside on the grounds watching the big screen, breaking the previous record of 30,753 fans set in 2019.
Additionally, the total Australian Open tournament attendance for 2020 was also a record 812,174, bettering the previous 2019 mark of 796,435.