Sunday, January 27, 2013 1:32 pm
Djokovic is a man bearing titles, and chocolates
By JOCELYN GECKERAssociated Press
A master at playing to his audience, Djokovic came with several boxes of chocolates to his post-match news conference and then played host as he distributed them to a room packed with journalists.
"Please, take two," Djokovic said, offering his box of treats to one reporter at a time.
"I see nobody's on a sugar-free diet," he joked as the chocolates began to disappear.
The No. 1-ranked player became the first man in the Open era to win three consecutive Australian titles when he beat Andy Murray 6-7 (2), 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-2 in Sunday's final.
Djokovic has won four of his six major titles at Melbourne Park, and likes to give a little something back to the crowds who cheer him.
An entertainer on court and off, Djokovic is known for celebrating hard-fought victories at Rod Laver Arena by ripping off his shirt. He kept his clothes on for this final, but did bare his chest after winning a five-hour thriller over Stanislas Wawrinka in the fourth round.
"It's definitely my favorite Grand Slam," Djokovic said during his victory speech on center court. "It's an incredible feeling winning this trophy once more. I love this court."
To mark the national holiday on Saturday, Djokovic pinned a fuzzy koala to his sweat shirt and walked into his pre-final news conference saying, "Happy Australia Day!"
He was asked on Sunday if his good humor was a conscious effort, which made Djokovic turn philosophical.
"I try to enjoy what I do, and every moment of the life that I have is a blessing," he said. "What else can you do but to be happy and try to bring that joy to the other people around - especially in the tournaments."
"Everybody has bad days," he added. "I'm not always funny or laughing."
He then apologized to reporters for canceling the winner's traditional day-after news conference scheduled for Monday. He said he wanted to get back to Europe to begin practicing for the Davis Cup, which starts next weekend.
That's when he brought out the chocolates, as a consolation prize.
"Let's keep it sweet," he said.
TRIBUTE TO ANDRE: Andre Agassi made his return to Rod Laver Arena in a suit and tie.
Now 42, Agassi was invited back to the site of some of his greatest tennis triumphs to present this year's trophies.
"It was obviously a big pleasure and honor for me to receive the trophy from him," Djokovic said.
By winning his fourth Australian Open, Djokovic matched a record set by Agassi who won the tournament in 1995, 2000, `01 and `03.
"He's a legend of the sport," Djokovic said. "He won everything."
An eight-time Grand Slam winner, Agassi won at each of the four Grand Slams and owns an Olympic gold medal from the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Agassi watched the final from the stands and then presided over the trophy ceremony. It was his first trip Down Under in nearly 10 years.
MIXED DOUBLES: It started with a long-distance text message.
Australia's Matthew Ebden picked up his phone and sent a message to Jarmila Gajdosova to see if she would play mixed doubles with him at the Australian Open.
"I got hold of her number from a secret person, and she was over in America," Ebden said. "And I just texted her hoping that she would she would be available to play or wanted to play."
She said yes and they won a wild-card entry to the mixed-doubles draw.
On Sunday, the Australian duo combined to win the mixed-doubles title with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Czech pair Lucie Hradecka and Frantisek Cermak.
They ousted second-seeded Elena Vesnina and Leander Paes in the second round and fifth-seeded Nadia Petrova and Mahesh Bhupathi in the quarterfinals.
Gajdosova praised her partner's strong serve and "his Ninja skills on the net."
Asked if they plan to play together in the future, Gajdosova said: "Hopefully, he doesn't ditch me for somebody else."
"No," Ebden said. "I've already signed her up for next year."