The news that Novak Djokovic would not be participating in the Australian Open, instead being deported from the country, brought to and end to a saga that has dragged on far longer than anyone could have expected. The whole situation has been an embarrassment for tennis, and has reflected poorly on all parties involved.
Nonetheless, the decision to expel Djokovic leaves the door open for someone else to step up and win the title, with the Serbian having been a strong favourite in the Australian Open 2022 odds. Indeed, in the last 14 editions of the Grand Slam, Djokovic has emerged the victor, which is an incredible feat. That leaves five Australian Opens where someone else lifted the trophy — let’s take a look at who got the win on those occasions.
2018: Roger Federer
The last man to win the Australian Open, apart from Djokovic, is the king of tennis himself, Roger Federer. The Swiss star breezed through the first four rounds without dropping a set, which brought about a quarter-final match-up with Tomáš Berdych, who has dished out some painful defeats to Federer in the past. However, there was no such upset, as Federer won in straight sets to reach the semi-finals, where he faced surprise-package Chung Hyeon.
It was a dream come true for the South Korean, but unfortunately things didn’t go his way. Having lost the first set 6-1, he retired when 5-2 down in the second to grant Federer and easy passage to the final. Marin ?ili? was the opponent, and after a five-set epic, Federer was the man lifting the trophy for a sixth time.
2017: Roger Federer
One year previously, Federer had similarly triumphed in Melbourne. As 17th seed in the event following injury troubles, the Swiss had to beat established players like Berdych and Kei Nishikori just to reach the quarter-finals. Victories over Mischa Zverev and Stan Wawrinka, the latter a five-set marathon, set up a final against Federer’s old rival, Rafael Nadal.
The match see-sawed, with both players trading sets, but it was Federer who made it count in the end, winning the fifth 6-3 to get his hands on the title.
2014: Stan Wawrinka
Somewhat surprisingly, Stan Wawrinka was the champion at the 2014 Australian Open. It was rare at the time for a player outside of the ‘Big Four’ of Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Andy Murray to win a Grand Slam, but Wawrinka thoroughly deserved his win despite his underdog status in the tennis Australian Open tips.
His win over Djokovic in the quarter-finals was a true epic, winning 9-7 in the fifth set to seal a mammoth triumph. That was followed by a hard-fought semi-final win over Berdych, setting up a showpiece occasion against Rafael Nadal. A strong performance saw Wawrinka take the title in a four-set victory.
2010: Roger Federer
Federer was still at the peak of his powers back in 2010, and he faced few hurdles en route to winning the Australian Open that year, dropping just two sets along the way.
Nikolay Davydenko and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga were dispatched in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively, before Federer swept Murray aside in the final with a straight-sets victory.
2009: Rafael Nadal
You have to go all the way back to 2009 for the last time Nadal won the Australian Open. The Spaniard was at the top of his game around that time, having won Wimbledon the previous summer, and he breezed through the early rounds with considerable ease.
After beating Gilles Simon easily in the quarter-finals, Nadal would be made to work for his title. Fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco put up stubborn resistance in the semi-final, with Nadal winning in a five-set epic.
From there, it was a final against Federer, with Nadal getting the better of the Swiss as he had done at both the French Open and Wimbledon the previous year. It was another five-setter, but Nadal got his hands on the trophy in the end. It remains his only Australian Open triumph so far.