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Novak Djokovic will not allow himself to believe he is in a different league to his rivals despite crushing Andy Murray to win a sixth Australian Open title.
Djokovic eased past Murray 6-1 7-5 7-6 (7/3) to draw level with Roy Emerson's Melbourne record while his 11th major title overall means he climbs to joint-fifth on the all-time list alongside Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg.
After thrashing Rafael Nadal in Doha and trouncing Roger Federer here in the semi-finals, Djokovic's straight-sets win over Murray would appear to confirm that the big four has become a big one.
But Djokovic said: "I don't want to allow myself to be in that frame of mind.
"If I do, the person becomes too arrogant and thinks that he's a higher being or better than everybody else, you can get a big slap from karma very soon. I don't want that."
He added: "I heard actually a nice metaphor yesterday - 'the wolf climbing the hill is hungrier than the wolf at the top'.
"You can observe it from different sides but I believe all the guys are out there fighting each week to get to number one and I know that."
As Rod Laver Arena stood to salute the defending champion, Djokovic bent down and kissed the court in celebration.
"It is special here," Djokovic said.
"That's why I kissed the court. I've had a love affair with Rod Laver Arena for many years and I hope it can last a long time."
Murray was hoping to win a third grand slam title and halt a run of four losing finals at Melbourne Park but Djokovic made it five with a ruthless performance.
It brings an end to a turbulent fortnight for Murray, who has had his bags packed and was ready to leave if his wife Kim went into labour early at home.
There was also the unexpected collapse of his father-in-law Nigel Sears, when Murray admitted he had been close to pulling out of the tournament, before Sears was given the all-clear.
The world number two said an emotional thank you to Kim in his post-match speech on court and with the contest finishing at just after 10.30pm, he caught an even earlier flight out of Melbourne than planned, at around 1am.
"I'm proud that I got into this position, just quite looking forward to getting home now," Murray said.
"It's been hard. Regardless of today's result, it's been hard. Had I lost in the third or fourth round it still would have been difficult with everything that's happened.
"Kim has been, yeah, amazing. She's handled everything unbelievably well.
"I have to thank her for allowing me to play and sort of stay here with everything that was going on. But, yeah, it was tough."
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