Melbourne, Australia (CNN)Agitated and ailing, Novak Djokovic nonetheless won an eighth Australian Open title to beat his fellow Big Three members to the punch in one respect.
Chasing Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for most of his career, Djokovic became the first man in the Open Era to win a grand slam title in three decades by downing big-hitter Dominic Thiem 6-4 4-6 2-6 6-3 6-4 in an unforgettable three-hour, 59-minute final.
He has never lost a finale in Melbourne and has now tallied a 17th major overall to pull closer to Federer and Nadal.
"Obviously at this stage of my career, grand slams are the ones I value the most," said Djokovic. "They are the ones I prioritize. Before the season starts I try to set my form, shape for these events where I can be at my prime tennis, mental and physical abilities."
The elder pair will get their chances to equal the Serb's three-decade accomplishment in 2020 but at the year's first grand slam, he is unquestionably in a class of his own.