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Novak Djokovic beat Andy Murray in straight sets to claim his sixth Australian Open men's title on 31 January. The reigning world number one, who resisted a fightback from Roger Federer in the last round, was in typically brilliant form and condemned his opponent to the fifth Melbourne final defeat of his career.
"It's a great honour," he said after his 11th grand slam singles title was confirmed. "I don't take anything for granted, even though I won last four out of five Grand Slams, played five finals out of five Grand Slams last that I played.
"It's phenomenal. I'm very proud of it, as is my team. We worked very hard to be in this position, and we should enjoy it. We should cherish every moment that we get to experience now because these are the tournaments that we all value, that we all want to play well on.
"No doubt that I'm playing the best tennis of my life in last 15 months. You know, everything is going well privately, as well. I became a father and husband, have a family, so I feel like I'm at the point in my life where everything is working in harmony. I'll try to keep it that way."
After breezing through the first set with a trademark display of formidable dominance, Djokovic secured another break of serve on a long forehand to lead the second 4-3. Murray immediately hit back, however, getting back on equal terms when the defending champion unsuccessfully challenged a strong cross-court backhand that he believed had drifted wide of the left tramline.
A very animated Murray secured a crucial but nervy hold at 5-4, but could not register a further break to level the match. Instead, Djokovic fought to retake the lead and save a break point before clinching the second set.
Murray had never beaten the Serbian after trailing 2-0 and that proved the case once again as Djokovic took the second of two break points in the first game of set number three with a sensational backhand winner that appeared to momentarily defy the laws of physics.
After failing to take advantage of an initial break opportunity, Murray continued undeterred and demonstrated his determination by battling back to take his second chance to lead 4-3. The third set then remained on serve all the way through to a tiebreak, which easily Djokovic won 7-3 with an ace after being helped by two double faults and a weak forehand into the net.
"I mean, basically I saw some of the stats just at the end of the match. He won 25 more points than me, 26 more points. I had 25 or 26 more unforced errors," Murray, whose father-in-law Nigel Sears collapsed in the stands last week during a match between Ana Ivanovic and Madison Keys, said afterwards.
"You know, I think I didn't hit my forehand particularly well at the beginning of the match. I started to hit it better in the third set. But, yeah, that was it."
When asked if he felt he was getting closer to matching Djokovic, the 2013 Wimbledon winner added: "I mean, I don't know how far off I was tonight. The first set, you know, I wasn't there, but the second and third sets I do think were very close.
"I do think I could have played a bit better, like I said. I didn't think I hit my forehand as well as I could have done. When I did in the third set, that helped me out a lot. I was able to get myself into the net more. I was able to play more offensive tennis then.
"Yeah, I mean, most of the matches we played in slams I think have been competitive. Whether that looks the same from the outside or not, I don't know. For a three-set match, 2 hours and 50 minutes, it was a tough few sets."