Novak Djokovic won grand slam no.18 and said he is driven by the rivalry shared with fellow pros Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer.
On Sunday, Djokovic maintained his position as the king of Melbourne with another Australian Open win, beating Daniil Medvedev 7-5 6-2 6-2.
It was his third successive triumph down under and he is guaranteed to reach one of his major career goals by surpassing Federer’s record of 310 weeks at world number one.
He remains two slam titles behind Nadal and Federer, and winning the biggest trophies will be his clear priority for the rest of his career, with Djokovic set to play sparingly while coronavirus-related restrictions prevent him travelling with his young family.
“Roger and Rafa inspire me,” he said. “That’s something I’ve said before and I’ll say it again. As long as they go, I’ll go and I suppose it’s a race to see who plays tennis more.
“It’s a competition between us in all areas but I think that’s the reason we are who we are because we drive each other.”
Coach Goran Ivanisevic described Djokovic’s performance as a masterpiece and said this was a title the Serbian needed after the disappointments of the US Open and his heavy final loss to Nadal at the French Open.
“He needed [it], if he wants to break the record, if he wants to catch Roger and Rafa,” said the former Wimbledon champion.
“Rafa is going to win one more, maybe two for sure, French Opens. You need to keep going winning.”
Meanwhile, Naomi Osaka beat Ashleigh Barty in the women’s final to stake a claim as one of tennis’ leading players.