Novak Djokovic bested Andy Murray 6-7 (2), 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-2 in the Australian Open final on Sunday, earning his sixth career Grand Slam title.
The match marks the end of 2013's first major tournament, and the last we'll see for a while. The next Grand Slam, the French Open, doesn't start for a distant four months (May 26th).
With that gap lingering in front of us, the results from Melbourne are expected to drive tennis discourse for a substantial period. Let's look at a couple winners and losers from the event:
Winner: Novak Djokovic
Restating the obvious, but I'd be remiss not to harp on Djoker for at least a few lines.
The world's number one took home his third-straight Australian Open title, and fourth of his career. The win helps bump his resume, slowly but surely, toward elite status.
Now with six Grand Slam titles to his name, Djokovic pulls into a seven-way tie for 21st all-time. Roger Federer—who had seven at Djokovic's age—has the most all time with 17.
Winning another Grand Slam certainly bolsters his resume, but Djokovic's wins are starting to look a bit lopsided. He's taken top spot in Melbourne four times, winning only once at Wimbledon, once at the U.S. Open, and never at the French.
He lost to Roland-Garros monopolist Rafael Nadal in last year's final (the farthest he's ever gone), and if he can complete the career Grand Slam in May, that resume will have no glaring hole.
Loser: Roger Federer
It's unfair for us to judge Fed by such a lofty standard, but given his career, missing any final has to be considered a minor loss. Especially with Rafael Nadal out of the draw.
Since winning in Melbourne in 2010, Federer's dominance began slowly waning. Check out the percentage of Grand Slam Finals he's made before and after (but not including) that triumph:
|Tournament||Finals Made (2004-09)||Finals Made (2010-13)|
|Australian Open||66% (4/6)||0% (0/3)|
|French Open||66% (4/6)||33% (1/3)|
|Wimbledon||100% (6/6)||33% (1/3)|
|U.S. Open||100% (6/6)||0% (0/3)|
Murray won their semifinal match more than Federer lost it, but still—that decline is pretty graphic. Until he starts making finals consistently again, whispers of Federer's decline will continue to get louder.
Winner: Jeremy Chardy
There always seems to be one.
Chardy broke the mold to earn his first ever Grand Slam quarterfinal, pulling upsets over Andreas Seppi and Juan Martin del Potro in the process. He fizzled out of momentum in straight sets against Andy Murray, but that hardly serves to blight his run.
He entered the tournament ranked 25th in the world—the highest of his career—and this should only help him rise. He's only 25 years old, so he's certainly got room to improve his game. Whether he actually does, however, remains to be seen.
Loser: Juan Martin del Potro
On the flip side of Chardy's success comes del Potro's unfortunate floundering.
The sixth-ranked Argentinian enjoyed an Annus Mirabilis in 2009, winning the U.S. Open and reaching the semifinals of the French. But since then he's continued to disappoint, proving time and time again that he's not ready to be a serious threat in the tennis world.
This year's Australian was more of the same. His five-set loss to Chardy marked his earliest Grand Slam exit since 2011. If he doesn't show better at Rolland Garros, it might be time to give up on del Potro's potential.