Great Britain’s Andy Murray has fallen short once again in his mission to add to his two Grand Slam titles after losing, once more, to Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in straight sets at this year’s Australian Open final.
This was the Scot’s fifth appearance in the final at Rod Laver Arena and the fourth he has lost to the Serbian world number one, who made it his sixth triumph Down Under.
Murray has also become the first player since his former coach, Ivan Lendl, to lose five finals at the same Grand Slam, a record that will only rub salt in the wounds of the world number two.
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It was a painful and frustrating three hours and three minutes for the Brit, who was always going to be up against it with the Serb having won 21 of their previous meetings compared to Murray’s nine.
Djokovic sealed the championship with a 6-1 7-5 7-6 (7-3) win, but not without Murray trying to mount a comeback in an 80-minute second set before the third was wrapped up by the determined Serb.
Although clearly stung by his defeat, Murray's post-match interview suggested he could see the somewhat humorous side of his agonising Australian Open finals record.
“I feel like I’ve been here before,” he said with a weak laugh.
"Congrats Novak. Six Australian Opens is an incredible feat. The last year has been incredible. Good job.
"I'd like to thank my team for getting me to this position. Sorry I couldn't get it done. Thanks for all your support during a tough few weeks off court.
"And finally to Kim, my wife, who is going to be watching at home. You've been a legend. I'll be on the next flight home."
Murray enjoyed another solid tournament dropping just four sets on his way to the final while seeing off tough competition in Spaniard David Ferrer and even more impressively, Canadian Milos Raonic.
The 28-year-old came back from two sets to one down to complete a dogged win over the young Canadian and secure his place in the final.
However, the Scot has had a lot on his plate over the last couple of weeks.
Considering the potentially imminent birth of his first child in addition to the collapse of his father-in-law early on in the competition, the 2013 Wimbledon champion could be forgiven for feeling deflated and exhausted.
But the glory cannot be taken away from Djokovic, an 11-time Grand Slam champion who has proven to be truly unstoppable of late, breezing through his matches, including a reasonably straightforward semi-final win over none other than Roger Federer.
Djokovic, speaking after the final, was as gracious in victory as ever with nothing but admiration for Murray.
"I need to pay respect to Andy for having another great tournament. Tough luck tonight," he said.
"He's a great champion, great friend and a great professional who I'm sure will have many more chances to win this trophy.
"I also wish you and Kim good luck for the birth of your child and I hope you will experience a feeling like no other before - that's what happened to me and my wife. I wish you all the best."
The Serb’s lethal form has led to the prospect of Djokovic overtaking Federer as the greatest player of all-time to be a case of when not if.
Quite a title, but one Djokovic is living up to every time he steps on the court.
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