Novak Djokovic put Roger Federer on note as he gained his seventeenth Grand Slam title at the Australian Open and warned he used to be going all-out for the Swiss's file of 20 -- and his mark for weeks as world range one.
Djokovic, who came thru a mid-match droop to win his eighth title in Melbourne, is relentlessly totting up the victories that ought to quickly end the debate over who's the best in history.
The five-set victory over Dominic Thiem was once his eighth in eight finals in Melbourne, putting him alongside Federer and Nadal as the solely guys to win the equal Slam eight times.
It makes Djokovic, 32, the first man in the Open era, and solely the second in history, to win Grand Slam titles in three exclusive many years -- and as a not-insignificant bonus, returns him to world number one.
In an ominous signal for his rivals, the Serb has started the yr unbeaten with Wimbledon, the French Open, the Tokyo Olympics and the US Open all mendacity in front of him as tantalising opportunities.
He is clear-sighted about his goals: overtaking Nadal's 19 Major titles and Federer's 20 to emerge as the all-time Grand Slam king, and outdoing the Swiss master's record 310 weeks in the top ranking.
Djokovic has so far clocked up 276 weeks as wide variety one and ought to pass second-placed Pete Sampras's 286 in April, and Federer's 310 on October 5.
"Obviously at this stage of my career, Grand Slams are the ones I cost the most. They are the ones I prioritise," said Djokovic, adding "there's a lot of history on the line".
"Grand Slams are one of the main reasons why I am nonetheless competing and still taking part in full season, attempting to for sure get the historic wide variety one (record). That's the different massive goal," he said.
With 5 Major titles in just over two years, and unbeaten by Nadal and Federer at the Grand Slams seeing that 2014, there is no query who's now the main member of the Big Three.
The modern-day rankings tell the story at the pinnacle of men's tennis: Djokovic is variety one, Nadal, one year older at 33, is 2nd and 38-year-old Federer is a distinctly far-off third.
Seven-time Major winner Mats Wilander stated Djokovic's win in Melbourne units a marker for a 12 months in which he should sweep all before him.
"At the give up of the year, we could have two gamers on 20 or two on 19 or even greater due to the fact Novak can win all four," he said.
"This is a big win for him going forwards. A loss here would have been very tough to get self belief and come back.
"But the door is open for him to start mountaineering thru it and discuss about being the best ever."
As he jets out of Melbourne, his identify etched but again on the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup, Djokovic warned that his self belief and expectations were soaring.
"I'm super-happy with the way I started out the season. It kind of units the tone for the rest of the year," he said.
"To begin off the season with a Grand Slam win appreciably boosts your self assurance and your expectations are quite high for the rest of the season.
"But whatever happens, this season is already successful."