'Seldom felt so vast': Novak Djokovic win exposes major tennis 'insult'

Chris Young
·3-min read
Novak Djokovic celebrates after beating Daniil Medvedev in the men's singles final of the 2021 Australian Open. (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic celebrates after beating Daniil Medvedev in the men's singles final of the 2021 Australian Open. (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic's record setting ninth Australian Open victory was yet more proof of one of tennis' biggest modern truths - the Big Three still rule the roost.

For years, fans and experts alike have been falling over themselves to predict who will rise up to challenge the likes of Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, to no avail.

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Djokovic demolished world No.4 Daniil Medvedev in straight sets to bank yet another tournament win at Melbourne Park, casting aside the Russian's impressive run of form heading into the final.

Medvedev had won his last 20 matches prior to his drubbing at the hands of Djokovic, fuelling talk that the Russian star could step up to the challenge of the Australian Open final.

Despite a competitive first set, Djokovic made it a straight-sets walkover, further hammering home the dominance of tennis' Big Three.

With a credible challenger in Medvedev so easily dispatched, chief sports writer for The Telegraph, Oliver Brown, argued the gap between the next generation of challengers and the sport's dominant trio was perhaps greater than ever before.

“Forget any notion that the gap between these modern greats and their would-be usurpers is narrowing,” he wrote.

“On the contrary, it has seldom felt so vast. Take Stefanos Tsitsipas, who has repeatedly been anointed as the heir presumptive.

“His Melbourne victory over Federer in 2019 was heralded as tennis’ finest passing-of-the-flame moment since the Swiss’ own dethroning of Pete Sampras at Wimbledon 18 years earlier.

"But he was incapable of backing it up, squashed by Nadal in the semi-finals.

“Of all the Next Gen poster-boys, Medvedev makes the most convincing case that he could yet snaffle a couple of majors. But it is an insult to the vastness of Djokovic’s body of work to suggest one day, one titan will be seamlessly supplanted by another.

“Nothing captivates in sport quite so much as the concept of generational shift, however flawed it is.”

Family, Father Time Djokovic's big threat

Novak Djokovic worries that Father Time may prove his chief threat in his otherwise relentless march towards sporting immortality.

Just not the Father Time that thwarts other great athletes and brings careers to a crushing halt.

Feeling fresh and able to play for years to come, the world No.1 says juggling family life with the complexities of travel during a pandemic loom as his biggest concern as he hunts down the all-time grand slam titles record jointly shared by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic edged to within two of the Swiss and Spaniard's benchmark 20 slams with a comprehensive 7-5 6-2 6-2 Australian Open final victory over Daniil Medvedev on Sunday night.

Novak Djokovic poses with the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup after winning the 2021 Australian Open Men's Final. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic poses with the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup after winning the 2021 Australian Open Men's Final. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

But constantly being away from his wife and two young children is weighing heavily on the super Serb.

"At times it rips my heart apart," Djokovic said after etching his name on the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup for a mind-blowing ninth time at Melbourne Park.

"I will have to revise my schedule comparing to the last year or any other season before this.

"Obviously time away from family definitely is something that has an impact on me.

"I'll have to see with these rules and regulations and restrictions in place all over the world, Europe.

"Not being able to take my family on the road is something that is a big problem for me."

With AAP

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