Novak Djokovic wins 17th major at Aussie Open

Christopher Bean, Assistant Sports Editor

There were multiple champions crowned on Sunday, and the first one came from Novak Djokovic winning his seventh major at the Australian Open. The Serbian defeated Austria’s Dominic Thiem in five sets. Ironically for Djokovic, he won the tournament in 24 sets and won his eighth Aussie Open a week after his idol Kobe Bryant tragically passed away.

“The Djoker” has displayed his mamba-like mentality for three decades now, since he won his first major, which came back in 2008 when he won his first of many Australian Opens. Djokovic has accomplished becoming one of the greatest tennis players of all time in the greatest era of tennis. For many years “The Big Four,” Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Rafa Nadal, dominated the tennis world, seemingly winning every major tennis had to offer. Since Djokovic won his first major in 2008, The Big Four have won 44 of 49 majors. Yes, you heard that right, they have won 44 of the last 49 major championships in that span. However, before Djokovic won his first major, Federer and Nadal combined to win 11 consecutive majors. So technically, the Big Four have won 55 of the last 60 major championships dating back to 2005. An unbelievable stat that goes to show you how dominant The Big Four has been in the last 15 plus years.

However, The Big Four is now only The Big Three; Murray had to retire because his hip was bothering him for years and he could never fully recover. He announced his retirement before last year’s Australian Open, where Djokovic beat him four times in the finals. Djokovic also defeated Murray in the French Open in 2016 for his one and only French title. However, Murray won his first two majors against The Djoker, and finished his career with three major titles. Even though Murray had some success, Djokovic dominated the rivalry with 25 wins in 36 matches between the two.

Next is Nadal, the man The Djoker is trying to surpass on the list of majors won. Nadal has won 19 majors and defeated Djokovic in four major finals, while Djokovic defeated Nadal in three major finals. The two have a historic rivalry, facing off 55 times. Djokovic has the slight edge with 29 wins.

Last, but certainly not least, is the G.O.A.T. of tennis, Roger Federer. Federer is the man Djokovic is headhunting to pass him on the all-time list of majors won. Federer has won an all-time best 20 majors. However, that has not affected Djokovic’s play at all. The two have combined for one of the greatest rivalries in the sport’s history. They have combined to play in 19 majors together, with Djokovic winning 13 of them. Their most recent finals matchup came in last year’s Wimbledon. The match went to all five sets, and Djokovic faced multiple championship points against Federer, but fought it off and defeated him 13-12 in the fifth set, for his fifth Wimbledon title.The two have faced each other a total of 49 times, with Djokovic winning 26 times.

The most recent major championship mostly came at ease for the eight-time Australian Open winner. Before the final, Djokovic only lost one set and that was in that first round to Jan Lennard. After that, Djokovic won 17 sets in a row, including a sweep against Federer in the Semi-Finals. It seemed like Djokovic would cruise to his eighth Australian Open title after he dominated the first set 6-4. However, Thiem, the two-time French Open runner-up, wouldn’t go away easily. Thiem answered with a 6-4 second set victory, and then cruised in the third set with a 6-2 victory. Thiem was only one set away from his first ever major win, but Djokovic wouldn’t shy away from adversity. He answered with his best set of the night, with a 6-3 fourth set victory to send it to the final set. Djokovic wouldn’t let down and won 6-4 in the final set to complete the sport’s first of four majors on the year.

As you can see, the 17 major titles just adds to Djokovic’s historic career, with him having winning records against the three best players in his era in the greatest era of tennis. He joins Nadal and Federer with five major wins after turning 30. Ironically, Nadal and Federer are currently the only two players who have won more majors. They are older, but are still playing at a high level and show no signs of retiring anytime soon. However, it is inevitable that Djokovic will pass them and become the greatest of all time in tennis. Christopher bean assistant sports editor @cre_bean Novak Djokovic wins 17th major at Aussie Open