Novak Djokovic vanquished Andy Murray for the fourth time in an Australian Open final on Sunday to win a record-equalling sixth title and serve notice to his rivals that he could surpass even his stellar 2015 this year.
The Serbian's fifth crown in six years on his favorite court not only allowed him to match Roy Emerson's record Australian Open tally but also brought him level with Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg on 11 grand slam titles. He has won four of the last five slams, 38 of his last 39 matches, and at this rate Roger Federer's record 17 is within range of the 28-year-old. Although world number two Murray battled hard after losing the opening five games in the blink of an eye, the dominant manner of Sunday's 6-1 7-5 7-6(3) victory vindicated Djokovic's opinion that he was at the zenith of his powers. "There's no doubt I'm playing the best tennis of my life over the last 15 months," the 28-year-old, who topped the ATP rankings for the whole of 2015, said. "I do feel that I'm at the peak of my abilities and my career. I don't think about limiting my ambitions or what I might be able to achieve." For Murray, distracted on his 11th visit to Melbourne Park by the illness of his father-in-law and the impending arrival of his first child, a dispiriting night ended up with a record of the wrong sort. The Briton's defeat was his fifth in five finals at the Australian Open. Only his former coach Ivan Lendl has lost as many at one grand slam and he at least wedged three U.S. Open titles in between the defeats.