The new tennis season is barely a week old, and Novak Djokovic has seen another of his glorious streaks come to a juddering halt.
Djokovic and Serbia debuted at the mixed-gender team event - the United Cup, for the first time - but were eliminated in the quarterfinal by a vibrant Australian team cheered every step of the way by a raucous home crowd in Perth.
First, the tireless Alex de Minaur pierced through a worn-out Djokovic, perturbed by a wrist injury, before Ajla Tomljanovic landed the telling blow to send the host nation into Saturday's semifinal against Germany in Sydney.
Defeat in singles competition finally put a stain on the Serb's remarkable run on Australian soil spanning five years and running through a jaw-dropping 43 matches. In that time, Djokovic won five titles Down Under, four of which came at the year's first major in Melbourne.
When it comes to Djokovic, tennis fans are always advised to make any predictions with a hint of caution. Time and again, Djokovic has always done his best work when the odds are not in his favor, and one of his unmistakable attributes is that he finds solace in proving people wrong.
But there is substance in his latest defeat although it doesn't diminish his already-guaranteed status as the major favorite to win the Australian Open or even Wimbledon and many other big titles this season.
In retrospect, it is not the first time that one of Djokovic's streaks has ended, but a pattern has been developing in the last six months, which could mean that his rivals are slowly catching up and looking to knock him off his perch.
In 2023, Djokovic was seemingly the unstoppable force in men's tennis after a splendid season culminated with a year-end World No. 1 ranking for a record-extending eighth time. His response to adversities has been fierce and meaningful.
However, the 36-year-old has now lost three of his monumental streaks since the second half of last season. Carlos Alcaraz ended Djokovic's dominance at Wimbledon, beating him on the pristine Centre Court for the first time in a decade.
Although the Italian made his own bed by gifting the 24-time Grand Slam champion a route back into the tournament, he took away another of Djokovic's streaks at the Davis Cup.
Sinner became the first man to beat the Serbian star in a Davis Cup singles match since 2011, saving three successive match points in the process.
History tells us you should never write off Novak Djokovic. However, there is fire from the smoke this time, and his dominance at the summit may be a thing of the past.