Another chapter of the Australian Open closes as the 112th edition served up drama and excitement from the first to the last ball.
In this bite-sized article, we shall look at the five takeaways from breathless action that spanned 15 days and which began on Sunday, January 14th - a historic first for the Australian Open.
5. Alcaraz has a confidence dilemma
Carlos Alcaraz reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, his best result Down Under. It is by no means a poor showing, considering that he lost to an in-form Alexander Zverev.
But he has now clocked six months since his last tour-level title, and it is starting to play on his mind. Some of his decision-making has been extremely questionable on the court, and his game hasn't quite clicked this season.
He has only played one tournament, so the Golden Swing is an important period for him next month. Just one title in either Buenos Aires or Rio could shake the monkey off his back, and he would regain his lost confidence.
4. Medvedev is the best of one-time Grand Slam champions
It was a bitter pill to swallow for Daniil Medvedev, who had to endure the agony of second place on a Grand Slam final podium. The Russian's solitary win remains the 2021 US Open, where he beat a fatigued and overwhelmed Djokovic.
Medvedev has now lost five Grand Slam finals, making his case as the best one-time Grand Slam champion. The biggest question is whether he will get another bite at the cherry, but you wonder whether the psychological damage is beyond repair that he might end up bottling it again.
3. Djokovic's biggest obstacle is his health
Novak Djokovic came into this year's Australian Open hardly in his best shape and was engulfed with a feeling of consternation. His wrist had marred his preparations. Then came a viral infection that made him accumulate more mileage in beating his opponents.
In truth, he was walking a tightrope, and as predicted, when he gingerly advanced into the semifinals, his odds of retaining the title were drifting. He was beaten by eventual champion Jannik Sinner, but let's not make a mistake in writing off Djokovic because, ostensibly, his biggest obstacle remains his health.
2. Sabalenka is here to stay
Aryna Sabalenka had some bad news for those who predicted her possible downfall. And the riposte to such illusions was quite emphatic because she did not drop a single set to win the tournament. The scary thing is that there are still levels she can go to, and she will now set her sights on the World No. 1 ranking.
1. Sinner played the waiting game and returns were enormous
Good things come to those who wait, and Jannik Sinner has certainly been patient. Yes, patient to watch Carlos Alcaraz take to the main event before him. Patient to watch Holger Rune rise into the Top 4 before him. Patient to let Daniil Medvedev take a two-sets-to-love lead in the Australian Open final.
But what Sinner possesses is resilience and grit. Those two characteristics took Sinner to a place he had always yearned for. A Grand Slam title win was like his calling card; it was bound to happen, even if it took another three to four years. And it was at the expense of one of the bravest fighters in the game, Medvedev.