Djokovic thumped Daniil Medvedev 7-5 6-2 6-2 in Sunday night’s final before taking aim at his critics.
The Serb, who served his 14-day quarantine in Adelaide, was savaged pre-tournament for detailing a list of so-called quarantine demands for the 72 players holed up in hard lockdown in Melbourne, then accused of exaggerating an abdominal injury during his five-set third-round win over Taylor Fritz.
“Emotionally (this) was one of hardest tournaments I had, to be honest, with quarantine and a lot of things happening in the media,” the world No.1 told Nine after the win.
“The letter that I wrote, ideas and recommendations that I got from players was misinterpreted as my request and list of demands.
“Then the next thing you know within a couple of days I’m persona non grata in this country.
“I got injured in the third round. It was a rollercoaster ride if I can define it in one word. I think it makes it even sweeter for me.”
Djokovic maintained he tore a stomach muscle against Fritz, and that the injury still hadn’t fully healed.
“I wanted to keep things quiet and clear for me in terms of talking about the injury or any other stuff. Just keeping it to tennis,” the Serb said.
“Once the tournament is done, I mean, (I can say) it’s a muscle tear. It was a muscle tear at that point.
The 33-year-old said he spent countless hours in between matches having treatment so he could keep going.
Djokovic said he simply must have greater powers of recovery than most.
“I guess we’re all different. I have maybe a great ability to heal,” he said.
The one-sided victory edged Djokovic to within two majors of the men’s all-time record of 20 shared by tennis titans Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic will surpass Federer’s record 310 weeks as world No.1 next month and it seems inevitable he’ll also move past the superstar Swiss on the majors leaderboard as he, Federer and Nadal continue to jostle for all-time greatest status.
Medvedev had been undefeated since last October and beat Djokovic in three of the pair’s previous four meetings.
But the Russian was no match for Djokovic on Rod Laver Arena, where the relentless Serb remains unconquered in nine finals and 42 outings as world No.1.
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