Perfect Djokovic, unbelievable Nadal - the most one-sided 'Big Four' major finals

Not since Serena Williams took four in a row from 2014-15 had one woman won consecutive Slam tournaments. Three days later, Nadal was on the receiving end.

The duo were meeting in major final for the eighth time.

"Stefanos is so young".

"We push each other to the limit of our tennis level". "I am not new on this". Only Fred Perry and Ellsworth Vines knew each other better on a tennis court than do Djokovic and Nadal; they played 162 times in the late 30s, barnstorming around the United States, the UK, Caribbean and South America in high-grade exhibition matches, with the American winning 88-74.

"When he was hitting, it's true that maybe it was hard to beat him even if I was at my 100 percent (level)". The final count: 21 winners and 28 unforced errors for Nadal; 34 winners and nine unforced errors for Djokovic.

Djokovic is now 7-1 in Australian Open finals.

Novak Djokovic shakes hands with Denis Shapovalov following victory in the third match during day six of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 19, 2019. Djokovic, meanwhile, won his first 16 points on serve and faced his first and only break opportunity, which he saved, in the third set. When it happens in a Grand Slam final, the interest is intensified ten-fold, even when it doesn't start until the wee hours of the morning. I need to play better than I have last season in order to have a shot at the title. "That's the sport", Nadal said. "When someone does everything better than you, you can't complain", Nadal said after the match.

The world No.1 later admitted his biggest opponent of the match was not Pouille, but Nadal. He dropped his head and looked down at the court.

"I don't want to say I figured him out because I don't want that to bounce back at me in any way in the future", he said. Given that he's coming off a series of injuries, given that he hadn't played since the U.S. Open last September, Nadal couldn't raise his game.

"That's really the only thing that I hope, is to have the chance to keep practicing well and to have the chance to keep playing with healthy conditions".

Reaching the final had been an unlikely proposition, and losing it in the circumstances was good progress.

"I was doubting whether I will be able to play everyone on this level [last year] because I didn't know to what extent the operation of my elbow would affect my game", he said. "But. five months without competing, having that big challenge in front of me, I needed something else".

The aggressive game plan he had used all tournament failed him, and when he tried to use more net clearance and spin Djokovic had an answer for that too - step in and club the ball hard.

Nor did Djokovic allow Nadal to impose his will as the world No.1 struck the harder blows first on nearly every point - a trend Toni Nadal picked up on as he tipped his hat to the seven-time Australian Open champion. He loves the records and I think that is why he has chose to play the clay-court season and get ready and be sharp for Wimbledon and the US Open and beyond. He's been playing very well the past six matches, improving his serving and being very aggressive. He now moves ahead of Pete Sampras' 14 Grand Slam successes and within two of Nadal's.

  • Stacy Allen