Australian Open 2012: Novak Djokovic Will Use Latest Triumph to Win Grand Slam

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistJanuary 30, 2012

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 30:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia poses with the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup after winning the 2012 men's Australian Open, at Carlton Gardens on January 30, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Lucas Dawson/Getty Images)
Lucas Dawson/Getty Images

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray are amazing tennis players.

Novak Djokovic is better than all three of them right now, however, and the gap is widening.

The sensational Serb will use momentum gained from his Australian Open triumph to win the Grand Slam in 2012. It's a feat last accomplished by Rod Laver in 1969.

In his nearly 11 hours on the court in his semifinal win over Murray and his championship victory over Nadal, Djokovic illustrated that he's up to any task the other elite players throw at him. Two of the sport's preeminent stars tried anything and everything to beat him, but he always had an answer.

What sets him apart from the pack right now is his sky-high confidence. He takes the court knowing he can defeat any other player on the planet if he plays his game, and that's half the battle. So many players have trouble overcoming that doubt factor.

It also allows him to take more chances because no single point is going to crush him. He's able to smack winners off both wings—often from some precarious positions—all because he's willing to grip and rip more than anybody else.

Make no mistake, Murray and Nadal are two of the most physically fit players on tour. But after chasing down Djokovic's groundstrokes for a couple of hours, even they showed signs of slowing down.

He's relentless on the attack, which bodes well on any surface. It doesn't matter if it's the slow clay of Roland Garros or the lightning-quick courts at the US Open, Djokovic's style will continue to be extremely effective.

That's why he was able to claim three of the four majors last season and will be the favorite heading into each of this year's marquee events. It's going to take an out-of-this-world effort to beat him, and his last two matches illustrated even that might not be enough.

His biggest test will once again be the French Open. He's never reached the finals in Paris and it's Nadal's best surface, but Djokovic knows that if he's ever going to match the résumés of tennis's all-time greats, he needs a French Open trophy. That should be more than enough motivation to push him over the top.

With every win down under, it became increasingly difficult to imagine anybody taking three of five sets from Djokovic. After beating Nadal in one of the best matches in history, it's virtually impossible. Good players might get one, great players may get two, but nobody is getting three.

That's why Djokovic will end a 43-year drought and win the Grand Slam.