Novak Djokovic claimed the 15th Major title at the 2019 Australian Open to place himself opposite his idol Pete Sampras. Novak dropped a set against Daniil Medvedev and Denis Shapovalov en route to the quarter-finals, shifting into higher gear and racing to a seventh Australian Open trophy.
In the final, Djokovic defeated his great rival Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-2, 6-3, celebrating the title and causing Nadal's most challenging loss in Major finals! Looking back on the match, Novak said he was proud of how he defeated Rafa, putting on a perfect performance and doing everything right against such a great champion.
Nadal had not dropped a set before the title match, suffered just two breaks in six meetings and looked good to win the Australian Open for the first time in ten years. As always, the only problem for the Spaniard lay in the fact that Djokovic was never an ordinary opponent for him, he couldn't beat him off the clay since the 2013 US Open final!
Starting from Beijing that year, Djokovic had posted 13 wins in 16 matches against Nadal for total dominance, extending the head-to-head lead to 28-25 after Melbourne. Djokovic's sublime performance left Nadal completely powerless as the Serb held the lead from the first point to the end.
Novak controlled the pace with a masterclass in hitting from both flanks, opening up the court and pushing the Spaniard out of his comfort zone to dominate his forehand and other shots.
Castle on Novak Djokovic
In a recent interview with Tennis365, Andrew Castle joked that there should have been a camera on Novak Djokovic when Rafael Nadal won his 21st Major at the 2022 Australian Open.
“The only camera we were missing down in Australia was one on Novak’s face on match point when Nadal made it to No. 21. After seeing that, I can imagine Novak’s motivation will be 100 percent moving forward," said Castle.
In the same interview, Castle pointed out that "a vast amount of politics" were involved in Djokovic's visa saga and that the Serb wasn't treated "entirely correctly" in Australia. The World No. 1 was initially granted a medical exemption to participate in the Australian Open but was deported from the country after his visa was rejected.
“My own personal view is he wasn’t treated entirely correctly at all times in that one. There was a vast amount of politics in it, with the elections in Australia and the restrictions they had to endure were so difficult. With a bit of luck it fizzles out and he can get back to doing what he does best," concluded Castle.