CAN anyone stop the Djoker?
Going on the weekend’s Australian Open final, the answer to that question is an emphatic “NO”.
The odds-on favourite throughout the tournament, Novak Djokovic made the second best tennis player on the planet look second rate as the world number one took Brit Andy Murray to the cleaners in a straight sets win, to clinch a record-equalling sixth Australian Open title with a 6-1, 7-5, 7-6 (7-3).
He joins the great Roy Emerson as one of only two men with six titles Down Under.
The Djoker had only one hiccup on his way to Aus Open supremacy, pushed to five sets and making 100 unforced errors against French man Gilles Simon in the fourth round.
He hardly dropped a set any where else as he creamed tennis great Roger Federer and then smoked Murray off the Rod Laver Arena court.
The 28 minute opening set gave an insight into the beast that is the Djoker, making almost no mistakes as he completely embarrassed Murray, who can only dream about ever being the world number one.
He fought back to make the next two sets tougher, but Djokovic was never going to be denied.
“He definitely made me work, there were a lot of long rallies, long exchanges and we were both breathing heavily towards the end of the second and third sets,” Djokovic said after the match.
“I heard a nice metaphor yesterday about the wolf running up the hill being much hungrier than the wolf standing on top of the hill.
“I believe that all the guys that are out there fighting each week to get to number one are very hungry to get to number one and I know that.
“I think you need to work twice as hard when you’re up there.”
At the moment, he’s the king of the wolves at the top of the mountain and he’s using a tennis racket to swat them off that mountain with ease.
Murray had a tumultuous fortnight, with his father in law collapsing in the stands while coaching Ana Ivanovic, coupled with his wife expecting their first child at any time.
“A lot’s been going on,” Murray said.
“I started the last couple of matches quite slowly, I think, understandable in some respects.
“Obviously it’s not good to begin matches like that against someone like Novak.
“But I’m proud of the way I fought and managed to get myself back into the match and create chances for myself.”
It gives the 28 year old 11 grand slam wins, equaling the great Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg and he says that gave him a spur in the match.
“I can’t lie and say I didn’t think about it,” he said.
“Of course it was at the back of my mind. It served as a great motivation and I tried to use it as a positive.”
He is now just six grand slam wins behind record holder Federer – and he’s six years younger.
Will he add three more grand slams to his Federer chase in 2015?
Last year he won three of the four grand slams, and only lost the final on clay at the French Open.
He might have an extra one to add to his impressive list, with Olympic gold on the offer at Rio De Janeiro.
And our friends at sportsbet.com.au have offered a market on a “Golden Slam” in 2016.
He is rated an $8 chance to win all four singles titles – the Australian Open (tick), French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open – as well as the gold medal at the Olympics.
The way he is going, that $8 is absolute juice. He will do it in his sleep.
“I believe that I can win every match I play (and) I’m playing the tennis of my life in the last 15 months,” he said.
“The results are showing that.
“But you can get a very big slap from karma.
“I don’t want that.”
Sportsbet doesn’t think the karma train is going to come calling any time soon, rating him a $6 chance to win all four grand slams this year. He is favoured at $2.29 to win three, given his troubles in France, while to win two he is $2.51. Losing in each of the three majors left in 2016 is the $7.40 outsider.
Djokovic is favoured in the win markets in all three slams, $1.83 for the French, $2 for Wimbledon and $2 for the US Open. Get around that even money now, it won’t last, especially if he wins in France.
Once his tennis skills fade (if they ever do) it looks like Novak has a ready made job waiting for him.
President of Serbia.
We’re not joking.
Apparently, there are rumbles out of the country that he would absolutely romp it in if he ran for his nation’s top role.
It is all just pie in the sky stuff, but he is not all that fussed at the moment.
“No,” he laughed.
“I’m an athlete.
“I think I should stick with that.”
It might be an idea to get in early on Novak for next year’s Australian Open – he’s even money to win it for a third straight time and a record seventh time.
There is obviously plenty of water to go under the bridge before January next year, but evens is hard to ignore.
Murray is the $5.50 second favourite, with Federer third on the line of betting at $9.50. Rafa Nadal is just about done, rated a $17 chance to take next year’s open.
In the women’s division, German sensation Angelique Kerber pulled off a stunning victory over world number one Serena Williams, killing her dreams of a seventh Australian Open title, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.
Kerber becomes the first German to win a major singles title since Steffi Graf took out the 1999 French Open, and Williams lost for just the fifth time in 26 Grand Slam finals.
She is still one away from Graf’s record of 22 slams, but not to worry, she’s the favourite to win the French Open ($3.25), Wimbledon ($2.63) and the US Open ($2.63) and you can get a massive $13.50 if you think she can win the three other slams this year.
Good money for a woman who does not look like slowing down. If you think she will win two, you can get $3.50, while she is favoured at $2.20 to win just the one. For her to go through 2016 without a slam, you will get $3.08.
French Open winner markets
Novak Djokovic ($1.85)
Rafael Nadal ($4)
Stan Wawrinka ($9)
Andy Murray ($13)
Kei Nishikori ($21)
Roger Federer ($26)
Serena Williams ($3.25)
Maria Sharapova ($7)
Simona Halep ($7.50)
Victoria Azarenka ($11)
Petra Kvitova ($15)
Garbine Muguruza ($17)
Angelique Kerber ($21)
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