Novak Djokovic put Roger Federer on notice as he won his 17th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open and warned that he was going all-out for the Swiss great’s record of 20 – and his mark for weeks as world No. 1. Djokovic, who came through a mid-match slump to win a record-extending eighth title in Melbourne, is totting up the victories that could soon end the debate over who is the greatest in history.The five-set victory over Dominic They put him alongside Federer (eight Wimbledons) and Rafael Nadal (12 French Opens) as the only men to win the same Slam at least eight times.It makes Djokovic the first man in the Open era, and only the second in history after Australian Ken Rosewall, to win Slam titles in three different decades. He also returned to the world rankings summit.In an ominous sign for his rivals, the Serb, 32, has started the year unbeaten with Wimbledon, the French Open, the Tokyo Olympics and the US Open all lying in front of him as tantalising opportunities.He is clear about his goals: overtaking Nadal (19) and Federer to become the all-time Grand Slam king, and outdoing the Swiss master’s record 310 weeks as the top man.Djokovic has clocked up 276 weeks as No. 1 and could pass second-placed Pete Sampras’ 286 in April and Federer’s 310 on Oct 5.”Obviously at this stage of my career, Grand Slams are the ones I value the most. They are the ones I prioritise,” he said, adding that “there’s a lot of history on the line”.”Grand Slams are one of the main reasons why I am still competing and still playing full season, trying to obviously get the historic No. 1 (record). That’s the other big goal.”With five Major titles in just over two years, and unbeaten by Nadal, 33, and Federer, 38, at the Grand Slams since 2014, there is no question who is now the leading member of the Big Three.Few would doubt Djokovic’s hunger for more success after he revealed how he drew strength from his formative years during his post-match news conference.”My upbringing was in Serbia during several wars during (the) ’90s,” he said. “(It was a) difficult time, (there was an) embargo in our country where we had to wait in line for bread, milk, water, some basic things in life.”That probably has been my foundation, the very fact that I came from literally nothing and difficult life circumstances together with my family and with my people.”Going back to that, reminding myself where I came from always inspires me, motivates me to push even harder. That’s probably one of the reasons why I managed to find that extra gear or necessary mental strength to overcome challenges when they present themselves.”Seven-time Major winner Mats Wilander said Djokovic has set a marker for a year in which he could sweep all before him.”At the end of the year, we could have two players on 20 or two on 19 or even more because Novak can win all four,” said the 55-year-old Swede. “This is a huge win for him going forward. A loss here would have been very difficult to get confidence and come back.”But the door is open for him to start climbing through it and talk about being the greatest ever.”Djokovic warned that his winning start has “significantly boosted” his confidence and his expectations were “quite high” for the season.”It kind of sets the tone for the rest of the year,” he said.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.