Defending champion Novak Djokovic was pushed to the brink by an inspired Dominic Thiem but the Serb dug deep to overturn a two sets to one deficit to extend his perfect record in the last two rounds of the Australian Open to an impressive 16-0.
It was Djokovic's first at the Australian Open from two sets to one down since recovering a similar deficit against Andy Murray in the 2012 semifinals as Thiem joined Tony Roche, Ivan Lendl, Goran Ivanisevic, and Andy Murray as the only players to lose their first three Grand Slam finals.
Djokovic had already broken new ground at the 2020 Australian Open before the final as his semifinal win over Roger Federer helped the Serb break a tie with Roy Emerson, Jack Crawford, and Federer (7 apiece) for most finals at the tournament. Following the exit of top seed Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals, Djokovic's title triumph returns him to the numero uno spot in the world rankings - a spot he last occupied at the 2019 Paris-Bercy Masters.
By winning his 17th Grand Slam single's title, Djokovic moves to within 3 titles of all-time record holder Federer. The Serb also accomplished the following by triumphing for a record-extending 8th time at Melbourne Park.
#1: Goes level with Federer for most hard court Grand Slam titles
By beating Thiem in the 2020 Australian Open final, Djokovic won a record-extending 8th title at the tournament to draw level with Federer (11) for most hard court titles in the Open Era.
While Federer has won 6 titles at the Australian Open and 5 at the US Open, Djokovic has 8 at the Australian Open and 3 at the US Open.
Djokovic has won his 8 titles at the Australian Open in 2008, 2011-13, 2015-16, and 2019-20 while at the US Open, the Serb triumphed in 2011, 2015, and 2018.
#2: First player in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam title in 3 different decades
Djokovic's win at the 2020 Australian Open makes the 32-year-old Serb the first player in the Open Era to win Grand Slam men's singles titles in 3 different decades.
While Ken Rosewall is the first player to accomplish the feat, the Australian's 4 titles during the 50s decade came in the amateur era when professionals were not allowed to compete.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion won 1 major title in the 2000s decade (2008 Australian Open), 15 in the 2010s decade (6 Australian Open, 1 Roland Garros, 5 Wimbledon, 3 US Open), and 1 in the 2020s decade.
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#3: First player in the Open Era to win multiple 5-set Australian Open finals
The 2020 Australian Open final between Djokovic and Thiem is only the 7th title match at the tournament in the Open Era to go the distance.
Djokovic joined Pat Cash, Nadal, and Federer as the only players to appear in multiple 5-set Australian Open finals. But unlike Cash (lost 1987-88), Nadal (won 2009, lost 2012), and Federer (lost 2009, won 2018), Djokovic is the only player amongst the quartet to triumph in more than one five-set final at the Australian Open.
In his first such final at the first Grand Slam tournament on the tennis calendar, Djokovic beat Nadal in the 2012 title match which turned out to be the longest ever men's singles final in the Open Era. 8 years later, against Thiem, Djokovic won his second five-set Australian Open final.