Novak Djokovic produced a fantastic comeback to win a record-extending 8th Australian Open title on Sunday as he became the first man in the Open Era to win a grand slam title in three different decades.
The Serbian second seed dug deep to prevail in five sets 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 against Austrian fifth seed Dominic Thiem at the Rod Laver Arena.
Djokovic who has won all eight finals he’s contested in Melbourne will now return to number one in the world in place of great rival Rafa Nadal when the next rankings are released on Monday.
The victory puts him on 17 career grand slam titles and within three of Swiss Roger Federer’s all-time leading tally of 20 men’s singles titles, with Spain’s Rafael Nadal now only two ahead on 19.
The Serb’s triumph ensured the wait continues for somebody to break the stranglehold of the old guard, with Djokovic, Nadal and Federer having won the past 13 Grand Slam titles.
No other player has won a men’s major title since Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka won the US Open title in September 2016.
For Dominic Thiem, a wait for a first major continues as he has now lost a third straight grand slam final following defeats in the 2018 and 2019 French Open finals to Rafa Nadal.
The Austrian will, however, take great pride in his display in his first-ever Melbourne final and first grand slam final outside Roland Garros.
He showed steely resolve to recover from losing the opening set and took the next two sets but appeared to run out of steam later on as Djokovic, who twice called for the doctor, found his rhythm to end Thiem’s challenge and took the title when Thiem shanked a forehand wide on the first of two championship points.