Once again, when Novak Djokovic is involved, the forecast was fulfilled. The same one that is repeated over and over again in the past year. He wins. It does not matter the tournament, surface, the rival and the circumstances surrounding the match. The Serbian is always the undisputed favourite, the fees offered by bookmakers for his victories are very poor and everybody, fans, experts and professionals, seem to be taken for granted the victory of the number one, wherever he is.
Djokovic beat Murray in three sets 6-1 7-5 7-6 (3). There was little excitement and it won´t be a reminded match in history by his brilliance. The solid and effective tennis of Novak was more than enough to defeat Murray, who was upstream from the beginning, and his defects were noticed more than his virtues, from the weakness of his forehand that falls short of his category as player, and he faltered ostensibly when Djokovic accelerates the rate, to the instability he profusely expressed as shouting, complaining, sceptical smiles and his entire catalogue of faces.
The impression is that Djokovic did not require his best tennis to win the match easily. As, on the other hand, begin to be often in most matches he plays. In this Australian Open just in the first two sets against Roger Federer the Serbian played a truly sublime tennis. It seems as if the world number one just gives the maximum with the Swiss, besides Rafa Nadal, his two toughest rivals ever. The semifinal of this Open and the final of Doha against the Spanish have been the best minutes of the Serbian in these first weeks of the season.
Djokovic has reached a splendid maturity as sporty. His tennis flows easily, he is in a physique peak and his confidence is through the roof. The superiority which he has been shown in recent months has finished convincing all his rivals he is a practically invincible player. And that inner conviction, never express as it could not be otherwise, is an additional factor which he did not enjoy in 2011; It is very difficult to achieve victory if you do not really believed in it. Djokovic, who is fully aware of this, knows that the intimidation he causes in his rivals is other cannon in his arsenal.
Maybe that’s why those return points direct to the feet of the server we use to see in 2011 become scarce. Or we see less and less those shots close to the lines. Or every time is more frequent to see him play at cruising speed, large margin, low-risk and a couple of speed in the reserve, aware that playing at pace from the baseline he is intractable and the error will come from his rival rather than his own. Djokovic has been defining his tactic counting with the reverential respect he infers in his rival and reserving 100% of his potential for special occasions.
Some statistic is significant in this respect. Djokovic has executed in the tournament 264 winning shots, one for every 5.61 points disputed. It may seem normal to be away from the more aggressive style of Federer, who has needed in Melbourne 4.5 points for each winner. But is strange that Murray, a defensive player, he makes winners more often, one for every 5.58 points. By the way, in this same tournament, in 2012, Djokovic made 279 winners, one for every 5.4 points.
And that considering the match with Gilles Simon, in R16, where Djokovic got 62 winners… and 100 unforced errors. The clever French “pollito” was able to take the number one out of his scheme, slowing down the rate, playing with extreme patience and forcing to his intractable rival to take risks. This smart tactic greatly annoyed to Djokovic and nearly cost him an upset that he finally eluded in the limit of the fifth set.
Turning to the final, it is significant that even when Murray clenched his teeth and he resisted to his destiny, in the second and third sets, Djokovic did not change the gesture nor the scheme. Sometimes he even preferred do not attack the short balls that left him the Scottish in benefit of reducing risks, even at the expense to lose initiative. He has so much confidence that he really seems that he did not care. The statistics reflect again this fact, 40 winners to Murray for 31 to Djokovic. But the other side of the coin is that counts. The British got 65 unforced errors and the Serbian just 41. 24 of difference, just the final distance of points won between the two finalists.
The cold and quiet celebration of Djokovic at the end of the match, the absence of an explosion of boundless joy indicates also very clearly that the Serbian did not suffer too much to achieve his 11th Slam. While Murray was consumed between complaints and protests, Djokovic knew he would win long before he executed the “ace” with which he sealed the match.
Djokovic wins and continues winning, and nobody seems to be able to stop him. While his rivals break their head thinking of how stop this dynamic, the Serbian applies increasing his figure and his place in the history of tennis. Today he has reached three undisputed champions as Bill Tilden – he has also 11, even though some people insist that he stayed at 10 – Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver. Next station, Roy Emerson.