Novak Djokovic has fought back from the brink and defeated fifth seed Dominic Thiem in a five-set thriller in the 2020 Australian Open final on Sunday.
World number two Djokovic got past the Austrian 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a match which lasted exactly four hours at Rod Laver Arena.
The result takes the Serbian’s Australian Open haul to eight titles and his career Grand Slam tally to 17.
The Serbian did it the hard way after winning the first set, falling apart at 4-4 in the second set after a time violation, with Thiem breaking and then holding serve to level the match.
The Austrian managed to win six games in a row to race to a 4-0 lead in the third set, which he eventually won 6-2 with the crowd firmly on his side, much to Djokovic’s displeasure.
“I was on the brink of losing the match,” Djokovic said.
“Dominic disrupted my rhythm in my game at one point. He was a better player.”
But Djokovic fought back as he struggled with his energy levels, showing a true champion’s resilience to win the match in five.
“It was anybody’s game, really,” Djokovic said.
“I knew that very early in the fifth set, it was crucial for me to make a break. I had that mental edge again, and that was enough to win it.”
The result continues the bottom three’s dominance of men’s singles titles, with no player born 1990 or beyond having won a men’s Grand Slam.
Thiem threatened to finally break through but missed out, although he didn’t appear far off.
“You have to beat at least two of them to win a big title and almost all players fail to do that and that’s what makes it so tough,” Thiem said.
“But I’m happy I can compete with these guys on the best level and I really hope also that I win my maiden slam when they’re still around because it just counts more.”