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Tennis | Australian Open

Novak Djokovic © Getty Images

Motivated Djokovic sets sight on Federer with machine-like precision

Novak Djokovic underwent surgery to fix an elbow problem 12 months back and in the process seems to have also eradicated any remaining glitches in his game, handing out an incredible mauling to Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final on Sunday.

With his record seventh crown at Melbourne Park, Djokovic moved ahead of Pete Sampras as third on the men's all-time list of most Grand Slam titles (15) and probably more poignantly just two behind Nadal.

Roger Federer is still out in front with 20 and the debate on the sport's greatest player has mostly centred around the Swiss master and the Spaniard.

But Djokovic has most certainly thrown his hat into that ring and the mark remains a motivation for him.

"Of course, it motivates me," said Djokovic, who earlier posed with his trophy for "the most beautiful and the most expensive" photograph of the night with four Australian tennis greats including Rod Laver and Roy Emerson.

"Playing Grand Slams, biggest ATP events, is my utmost priority in this season and in seasons to come. How many seasons are to come? I don't know. I'm not trying to think too much in advance.

"I do want to definitely focus myself on continuing to improve my game and maintaining the overall well-being that I have mental, physical, emotional, so I would be able to compete at such a high level for the years to come, and have a shot at eventually getting closer to Roger's record. It's still far."

In their last meeting at Melbourne Park seven years ago, the Serb needed a record five hours and 53 minutes to beat Nadal in the title clash in a match regarded as a classic.

On Sunday, he needed little more than a couple of hours to clinch his 15th Grand Slam trophy and third in succession after winning Wimbledon and the US Open. The victory also tied his career Grand Slam final meetings against Nadal at 4-4.


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