Novak Djokovic has been the dominant force in men's tennis for the best part of a decade. Yet after coming from behind yesterday to secure his eighth Australian Open title, Djokovic revealed that he is planning to scale his tennis commitments back at the end of the 2021 season.
With 17 major titles to his name, Djokovic told Australia's Channel 9 that he was keen to break Roger Federer's record of 20 in the next two years, and then switch to a more family-friendly schedule.
The Serbian has a son Stefan (5) and daughter Tara (2) and does not want to leave them behind for large parts of the year.
"I guess they are coming to an age where I really want to spend time with them, be the best possible father I can be, and not be on the road all the time," said Djokovic.
By completing his 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Dominic Thiem, Djokovic moved back to the top of the rankings for the fifth time, replacing Rafael Nadal. He will thus begin adding to his tally of 275 weeks as world No 1. Should he remain there, he is set to overtake Federer's record of 310 weeks on October 5. But let us return to Djokovic's latest triumph, which he claimed despite a serious power fade in the second and third sets. This was another dramatic night on Rod Laver Arena, the third time in four years that the men's final has gone to a decider.
If Thiem had been tentative in the first set, perhaps needing a few games to adapt to the cool and gusty conditions, then Djokovic found his control ebbing away in the second.
The fourth game of the fourth set was crucial as Thiem held a break point that would probably have placed him on the road to victory. Djokovic played it courageously, spearing a fine serve into his opponent's backhand and dashing to the net, whereupon he struck two pinpoint volleys to save the danger.
He was never really under threat again. Thiem had used up far more fuel on the way to this final, having faced Nadal and Alexander Zverev while Djokovic eased past Milos Raonic and an injured Federer.
American Sofia Kenin, meanwhile, "enjoyed the best two weeks of her life" when fighting back from a set down against Garbine Muguruza to win her first Grand Slam title with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 win in the women's singles final.
"I just want to say my dream has officially come true. I'm just so grateful standing here," Kenin said after lifting the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup.
"I'm looking forward to coming back here next year." (© Daily Telegraph, London)