Looking back at Novak Djokovic's 7 Australian Open titles

Bhargav
Djokovic hoists aloft a record 7th Australian Open title in 2019
Djokovic hoists aloft a record 7th Australian Open title in 2019

The Australian Open became the last of the four Grand Slam tournaments to open its doors to professionals when it did so in 1969. Except for a brief period between 1977 and 1985 when the tournament was staged after the US Open, every other edition of the Australian Open has marked the opening of the Grand Slam season.

It is the only Grand Slam tournament which has been held twice in a year (1977) during the Open Era, and also the only one not to be held for an entire season. The 1986 Australian Open, scheduled as the 4th Major of the season, was instead held as the first of the 1987 season.

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Like the US Open, the Australian Open has also been held on multiple surfaces. The tournament transitioned to hardcourt in 1988 after being held on grass for over eight decades.

A total of 26 different players, out of 54 to have won a Grand Slam title in the Open Era, have lifted the men's singles title at the Australian Open. Novak Djokovic (7) and Roger Federer (6) lead a group of 13 players to have triumphed multiple times at the tournament.

On that note, let us have a flashback of all-time title leader Djokovic's record 7 Australian Open titles.

#1 2008: Beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(2)

Djokovic (right) wins his first Grand Slam title at the 2008 Australian Open
Djokovic (right) wins his first Grand Slam title at the 2008 Australian Open

Four months after being thwarted in his maiden Grand Slam final by Roger Federer at the 2007 US Open, Djokovic dethroned the two-time defending champion in the 2008 Australian Open semifinals to book a final clash with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

In a match between two men looking for their first Major title, it was the Frenchman who made the stronger start by taking the opening set. But far from being ruffled, Djokovic asserted his ascendancy by taking a two sets to one lead and edging out Tsonga in a fourth set tiebreak to become the first Serbian player and the 50th overall to lift a Grand Slam title in the Open Era.

Following an early exchange of serves, the match settled down into a baseline slugfest. Djokovic lost his serve for the second time in the set to drop the opener, but Tsonga failed to ride his momentum as the Serb restored parity. He then surged to within a set of his maiden Major title with an authoritative third set.

At 5-6 in the fourth, Tsonga ignored an open court at his mercy to squander his lone set point of the set. Djokovic overcame the momentary lapse to streak across the finish line.

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#2 2011: Beats Andy Murray 6-4, 6-2, 6-3

Djokovic wins his 2nd Grand Slam title at the 2011 Australian Open
Djokovic wins his 2nd Grand Slam title at the 2011 Australian Open

Arriving at his first Grand Slam title match in three years - at the scene of his maiden breakthrough in 2008 - Djokovic faced returning finalist Andy Murray.

It was Djokovic who took the opening set after winning the majority of baseline exchanges between the pair. The Serb then surged ahead 5-0 in the second to effectively end the match as a contest.

Although Murray recouped one of the breaks, Djokovic closed out a two-set lead to take a commanding stranglehold over the match.

Murray started off in the right vein in the third, breaking Djokovic's serve, but the joy proved short-lived. The Scot failed to consolidate the break advantage as he dropped his serve in the very next game.

Two games later, the duo exchanged another pair of breaks before Djokovic broke decisively in the eighth game and promptly served out the straight-sets win for his second Australian Open title.

This marked the fourth time a player had lost consecutive Australian Open finals in as many years in the Open Era - Stefan Edberg (1992-93), Pat Cash (1987-88), and Steve Denton (1981-82) being the others. In the process, Murray also became the first player in the Open Era to lose his first three Grand Slam finals (also 2008 US Open and 2010 Australian Open final against Roger Federer) without winning a set.

#3 2012: Beats Rafael Nadal 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-5

Djokovic outlasts Nadal in the longest ever men's singles final at the 2012 Australian Open
Djokovic outlasts Nadal in the longest ever men's singles final at the 2012 Australian Open

Following a banner 2011 season which saw the Serb win three Grand Slam titles and beat Nadal in all six tournament finals the pair met in, Djokovic and Nadal squared off against each other in the final of the first Grand Slam tournament of the 2012 season. And it would be an occasion to remember.

In a match of lung-bursting rallies and jaw-dropping brilliance, both players were left gasping for breath. Rod Laver Arena witnessed a 5-hour 53-minute slugfest, which was also the longest ever Grand Slam final in the Open Era.

It was Nadal who drew first blood as Djokovic dropped serve twice to fall behind by a set. But the Serb came back into the contest strongly, conceding just six games in the next two sets to take a two sets to one lead.

At 3-4 0-40 in the fourth, Nadal was on the brink of defeat. He was three break points down, and effectively three championship points down. But what followed next was nothing short of extraordinary.

The Spaniard threw caution to the wind and ripped stunning winners as Djokovic saw five break points in the game evaporate into thin air. Nadal twice held serve to stay in the match and won consecutive points at 5-5 in the ensuing tiebreak to force a fifth set.

Djokovic was ruffled by the sudden turn in fortunes and the ferocity of the onslaught from an inspired opponent, as he fell behind 2-4 in the decider. But after Nadal missed a routine backhand down the line, Djokovic was back on serve and caught fire.

The Serb won four of the next five games to become the first player since Roger Federer (2006-07) and the 10th overall to successfully defend his Australian Open title. A pulsating contest mercifully drew to a close seven minutes shy of a seventh hour.

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#4 2013: Beats Andy Murray 6-7(2), 7-6(3), 6-3, 6-2

In 2013, Djokovic became the first player to win three consecutive Australian Open titles
In 2013, Djokovic became the first player to win three consecutive Australian Open titles

Djokovic and Murray met in the Australian Open final for the second time in three years as the pair locked horns with the 2013 edition of the title on the line.

Murray was full of confidence following a five-set win over Federer in the semifinals. And that confidence reflected in the Scot's early play as he escaped five break points to grab the opening set on a tiebreak and surge to a one-set advantage.

Djokovic escaped a 0-40 opening on his serve in the first game of the second and did not look back from there. In an intensely physical set, Murray was hindered by blisters and Djokovic conceded only three points in the ensuing tiebreak to restore parity at a set apiece.

The first break of the match came Djokovic's way, 2 hours 53 minutes into an absorbing contest, as Murray fell behind 3-4 in the third. The Serb promptly consolidated his break to take a two sets to one lead.

He reeled off eight of the next nine games to stamp his ascendancy on the match. Murray won just two games in the fourth as Djokovic became the first player in the Open Era to win three consecutive Australian Open titles.

In the process, Djokovic moved level with Roger Federer and Andre Agassi (4 apiece) for most titles at the tournament in the Open Era.

#5 2015: Beats Andy Murray 7-6(5), 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-0

Djokovic wins his 5th Australian Open title in 2015
Djokovic wins his 5th Australian Open title in 2015

After beating defending champion Stan Wawrinka and Tomas Berdych in five and four sets respectively, Djokovic and Murray in 2015 became the first pair to meet in three Australian Open finals in the Open Era. And the outcome on the day, like on the two other occasions, would not be any different.

Djokovic was faster off the blocks, bursting to a 4-1 lead, before Murray twice recovered breaks to force a tiebreak. He led 4-2 in the breaker before the Serb won 5 of the next 6 points to take the opener.

Following an early exchange of breaks, the second set also required a tiebreak. This time Murray did not relinquish a 5-2 lead, as he evened the contest at a set apiece.

Murray grabbed an early break to open the third but that would be as good as it would get on the night for him. The Scot's serve proved to be a huge liability; he would win just two of the next 12 games as Djokovic sprinted across the finish line to become the first player in the Open Era to win five Australian Open titles.

Murray also became the first to lose his first four finals at the tournament.

#6 2016: Beats Andy Murray 6-1, 7-5, 7-6(3)

Djokovic moves level with Roy Emerson (6) for most Australian Open titles
Djokovic moves level with Roy Emerson (6) for most Australian Open titles

Djokovic and Murray met for a record-extending fourth Australian Open final in 2016, but there would be more heartbreak awaiting the Scot.

In a match reminiscent of the pair's first title clash in 2011, Murray was second-best for large swathes. Djokovic ran out a straight sets winner and went level with Roy Emerson (6) for most Australian Open titles.

The Serb conceded just one game as he burst off the blocks to a one set advantage. Murray broke back for 4-4 in the second and looked on course for a second set tiebreak at 5-5 40-0, when he lost five points on the trot to inexplicably drop serve.

Murray fought back from another break deficit in the third to force a tiebreak but Djokovic soon reasserted his supremacy in the match to reign supreme for the sixth time in Melbourne. In the process, Murray became the first player in the Open Era, after Ivan Lendl (US Open), to lose five finals at the same Grand Slam tournament.

#7 2019: Beats Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-2, 6-3

Djokovic lifts a record 7th Australian Open title in 2019
Djokovic lifts a record 7th Australian Open title in 2019

After ending the inspired runs of first-time Grand Slam semifinalists Lucas Pouille and Stefanos Tsitsipas respectively, Djokovic and Nadal met in the Australian Open final for the first time since the pair's epic clash in 2012.

Trailing 3-4 in Slam finals against the legendary Spaniard, Djokovic broke Nadal in the opening game of the first set and never looked back. Although the Spaniard escaped break points to avoid falling further behind, it was Djokovic who took the opener 6-3.

The initial exchanges in the second set were tighter affairs compared to the first, but it was Nadal again who conceded the first break of serve. A second duly followed as Djokovic wrapped up a commanding 6-3, 6-2 two-set advantage on the cusp of the hour mark.

Nadal was left reeling in the face of Djokovic's ferocious onslaught and failed to muster a comeback as the Serb refused to drop his level in the third. Djokovic broke for 2-1 and survived a lone break point on his serve before closing out a stunning 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 win to become the first player to lift seven Australian Open titles.

In the process, he broke a tie with Roy Emerson and Roger Federer (six titles apiece).

This also marked Nadal's first straight-sets defeat in a Major final, and the fourth time he had come second best in the Melbourne title match.

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