Ho hum, just another Australian Open title. What else is new?
That's what it has been like for Novak Djokovic, who, at the tender age of 25, already has five Grand Slam titles and three at Melbourne Park.
Well, maybe it's not quite so simple.
Despite his downright dominance in Melbourne over the last two years, yet another win in the finals would be crucial for Djoker.
Let's take a look at what another Norman Brookes Challenge Cup—besides, you know, the obvious of being another Grand Slam title—would mean for Djokovic.
Proves He Can Win When Not at His Best
OK, Djokovic's semifinal against David Ferrer was pretty classic. The Spaniard couldn't do anything, and the world No. 1 coasted to a dominant 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 win.
It was easily his best performance of the tournament.
But before the Final Four, Djokovic hardly looked like himself. He was taken to 12 games in the third set against both Paul-Henri Mathieu and Radek Stepanek. He needed five sets to knock off Stanislas Wawrinka. He dropped another set against Tomas Berdych.
It is nit-picking, sure, but Djokovic was hardly at the top of his game at the beginning of this tournament, and many were beginning to doubt him.
That would make a win all the more impressive.
Who is the best hardcourt player in the world?
Regains Hard-court Dominance
Djokovic has dominated Australia, but after losing to Andy Murray at the U.S. Open to close out 2012, there were suddenly questions about who was the best hard-court player in the world.
Rafael Nadal is the King of Clay. Roger Federer is the best on grass. A win here would further cement Djokovic as the top player on hard court, while a loss would certainly put Murray in that conversation.
Road to The Grand Slam
Listen, I know this is a long shot.
But let's assume Djokovic wins and takes home his third straight Australian Open.
As we just mentioned, it would put him back on top of the world on the hard court. So, barring any type of injury, he would be the slight favorite over Andy Murray at the U.S. Open—albeit that's still a long ways away.
Moreover, with Rafael Nadal's status still up in the air, the French Open would be anyone's to win. Djokovic, who made it to the finals in Paris last year, would again be seen as the favorite if Nadal is at less than full strength.
That only leaves Wimbledon.
Rod Laver was the last man to win the Grand Slam all the way back in 1969, and while it sounds premature, a Djokovic win in Australia would at least put him on the right track to have a better-than-usual shot at a rare piece of history.