MELBOURNE, AAP - Fearing Roland Garros retribution, Novak Djokovic refuses to claim he has Rafael Nadal's measure after humbling the mighty Spaniard like never before.
Djokovic's 6-3 6-2 6-3 mauling of Nadal in Sunday night's Australian Open final was the Serb's fourth straight grand slam win over his great rival and left the world No.1 a French Open title shy of an historic, second non-calendar-year sweep of the majors.
But even after hailing his latest victory a "perfect" performance, Djokovic has learnt from the pain of six losses to Nadal in Paris - against just one win - never to under-estimate the clay-court colossus.
"I don't want to say I figured him out because I don't want that to bounce back at me in any way in the future," Djokovic said after having his name etched on the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup for a record seventh time.
"I might have figured him out for the match, but not for life.
"I mean, I'm sure we're still going to have a lot of matches against each other on different surfaces. I look forward to it.
"I really hope we will because this rivalry has been the most significant rivalry, the one that impacted me on a personal and professional level than most in my life."
Djokovic and Nadal have now clashed 53 times, with the Serb leading the epic series 28-25.
But in a chilling warning to their challengers, Djokovic said even at 31 and 32 respectively, the world No.1 and world No.2, were still getting better.
"Yeah, his serve is improved. The same time, I also worked on my serve. I think it has served me well, especially in the last couple matches," Djokovic said.
"One thing is for sure: we both are going to strive for improvement in the future regardless of what's happening."
Djokovic has good reason to be cautious.
Having not played a tournament since retiring from the US Open semi-finals with a knee injury, then undergoing ankle surgery in November, Nadal was heartened to have reached his 25th grand slam final in Melbourne.
"It has been a very important two weeks for me," he said.
"I have been going through tough moments during the last year.
"Even if tonight was not my night, for me it is so important to be where I am today. Again, coming back from injury.
"I really believe that I played great two weeks of tennis. That's going to be a good inspiration for myself for what's coming."
"I only can say one thing, I'm going to keep fighting hard, keep working hard to be better player."
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