Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final to conquer his 15th Grand Slam title and overtake Pete Sampras's Majors. At last year's US Open the Serb had said he was sad for not seeing the American on the grounds.
Sampras almost never attends tennis tournaments. "I've said it before, but he was someone that I look up to", Djokovic said on the 14-time Major winner. "When I was starting to play tennis actually, one of the first images of tennis, in general, was him playing Wimbledon, winning I think his first title back in '92, I think.
I was a small boy in Kopaonik, this mountain resort in the south of Serbia. Nobody has ever touched the tennis racquet before me. I did not have a tennis tradition in my family. I did have a sports tradition. So it was definitely a sign of destiny to start playing tennis, to aspire to be as good as Pete.
To surpass him with Grand Slam titles, I'm speechless. I haven't had too much time to contemplate on everything that has happened, but I'm planning to do that." Djokovic also praised the Australian Open facilities: "As Rafa said on the court, there's probably no other tournament in the world that strives to improve its facilities and service to the players and fans and media – I hope you guys would agree with that.
It's definitely a tournament that sets a bar quite high for the other slams and other tournaments, as well. I would have to agree with Nadal on that. Without a doubt, this is the best slam, the most player-friendly slam that we have."