Novak Djokovic ranked his performance against Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final as one of his best.
Novak Djokovic believes he played “a perfect match” in his record-breaking Australian Open final win over Rafael Nadal on Sunday.
Djokovic claimed a seventh title in Melbourne and a 15th major overall with a superb performance in a 6-3 6-2 6-3 thrashing of Nadal on Rod Laver Arena.
The Serbian was in impeccable form from the outset and said his display was among the best of his career.
“It ranks right at the top. Under the circumstances, playing against Nadal, such an important match, it’s amazing,” Djokovic told a news conference.
“Obviously back-to-back semi-finals and finals, I think I made 15 unforced errors in total in two matches. It’s quite pleasantly surprising to myself, as well, even though I always believe I can play this way, visualise myself playing this way.
“At this level, as I said, under the circumstances, it was truly a perfect match.”
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) January 27, 2019
Djokovic’s win saw him usurp Roy Emerson and Roger Federer, who have each won six, for Australian Open titles.
But it also sent him past idol Pete Sampras (14) into outright third on the all-time list for grand slams and the 31-year-old said he had not yet been able to appreciate his achievement.
“I’ve said it before, but he was someone that I look up to,” Djokovic said.
“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 [in 1993] … 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 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.”