Novak Djokovic is placing no limits on what he might achieve after joining the legendary ranks of Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg with another crushing Australian Open final victory over Andy Murray.
The ruthless top seed once again imposed his mental and physical hold over Murray to emulate 1960s amateur champion Roy Emerson as a six-time winner of the season-opening grand slam with a 6-1 7-5 7-6 (7-3) triumph at Melbourne Park.
The Serbian dominator also joined Laver and Borg with 11 career majors and now trails only Roger Federer (17), Rafael Nadal (14), Pete Sampras (14) and Emerson (12) in his relentless pursuit of grand slam immortality.
“I’m extremely honoured to be mentioned along legends of our sport like Rod Laver,” Djokovic said.
“Thank you for coming tonight and making this special.
“To Mr Roy Emerson, who isn’t here tonight, it’s a privilege to match your record of six Australian Open titles. One of the greatest players to play the game.”
After sweeping to four of the past five majors – losing only last year’s French Open final to Stan Wawrinka – Djokovic is refusing to rule out surpassing Federer as the most successful grand slam performer the game has known.
“I’m playing the tennis of my life and my results show that,” said the rampant world No.1.
“I don’t want to think how far I can go and what my boundaries are.
“I prepare myself as best I can for the three guys – Nadal, Federer and Murray … I’ve found the right formula for Andy.”
Djokovic’s latest triumph over Murray – his 11th in their past 12 encounters – consigned the world No.2 to a more unfortunate place in the tennis record books as the first man in the 48-year open era to lose five finals in Melbourne.
The vanquished Scot also fell to Djokovic in 2011, 2013 and last year and to Federer in the 2010 title match.
Murray’s former coach Ivan Lendl, who guided the Brit to US Open, Wimbledon and Olympic glory in a golden run in 2012 and `13 – is the only other man in professional tennis history to lose five finals at a grand slam event, though the Czech-American also raised the trophy in New York on three other occasions.
“I feel like I’ve been here before,” Murray said as he collected another runners-up plate.
“I’d like to congratulate Novak; six Australian Opens is an incredible feat, and for what he’s done the last year, it’s been incredible consistency.”
Murray earlier cursed himself for “the worst match I’ve ever played” while being swept aside in two hours and 53 minutes.
In truth, he succumbed to a world No.1 at the peak of his superhuman powers.
Djokovic’s success gives him a fourth chance in five years to complete the career grand slam set at Roland Garros in June.