Djokovic edges Thiem to win the 2020 Aussie Open … again

Novak Djokovic

Who would have guessed that Dominic Thiem was about to upset Novak Djokovic in the final at the Australian Open? He was ahead two set to one, and he was in the zone. But, in the last two sets, the Serbian knew that he has to do a few different things, and he did. Somehow, he won the match 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

He continued to pound, his eyes were very wide, and repeatedly came into the net and put it away.

Djokovic now has 17 Grand Slams, and he is No. 1 again. Without a doubt, he is one of the best players, ever.

“Serve and volley is not something I’m accustomed to. I’m not really doing that that often,” Djokovic said. “I kind of recognized that as an important tactic in those circumstances, and I’m really happy it worked.”

He must be. Roger Federer has won 20 Grand Slams, and Rafa Nadal has 19. Combined, the “aging” 30-year-old guys have won 56 majors. That is incredible. The young, top competitors look pretty good on court, but they have yet to grab a Slam. Eventually, the current players will win a Grand Slam, but exactly when? Perhaps when Djokovoc, Federer and Nadal retire. Not this year.

The good thing is that Thiem is constantly improving. If he continues to get better, than at some point, he will beat everyone at a slam. Mentally, though, he still needs to understand how to play. In the last two sets, he was decent, but not fantastic. That is why he lost three times in the finals, at Roland Garros (twice versus Nadal) and once at the Australian Open (Djokovic).

“It’s unique in sports history that the three best players by far are playing in the same era. That’s what makes it very, very difficult for other players to break through,” Thiem said. “As a different player than them, you have to beat at least two of them to win a big title. Almost all players [have] failed to do that. That’s what makes it so tough. … In the last two sets, I definitely gave everything I had. Novak is part of three guys who are by far the best players ever who played tennis. If you play a Grand Slam final against him, it’s always going to be a match where very small details are deciding [it]. Of course, there were some small mistakes here and there, but they’re happening. At the end it was a super close five-setter. I don’t really regret anything.”

That was Sunday, but this week, he might be pretty sad. The big players will think about it for weeks … or years. That depends on whether you deal with it or hide it. Djokovic loves to win demanding five-setters at the most important events. But, can Thiem live with it when he loses in front of millions of people, watching the final? I would doubt that.

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