Djokovic ground down his opponent before storming to victory in four sets – taking 12 of the last 13 games against a visibly tiring and demoralised Murray to win 7-6 6-7 6-3 6-0 on Sunday night.

It was the 27-year-old Serbian’s eighth grand slam title, and his fifth Australian Open success in five final appearances. Three of those successes have been at the expense of Murray, who has now lost four finals in Melbourne.

The marathon first two sets saw the two rivals trading blows in a physically-demanding encounter of breathtaking quality. Djokovic edged the first set 7-6 on a tie-break after 72 minutes; the second set lasted a full hour and 20 minutes, with Murray this time taking the tie-break to level the match.

Murray, 27, looked like the favourite when he surged into a 2-0 lead at the start of the third set, but the Scot fatally lost concentration – and with it his composure – as Djokovic roared back to take the set 6-3. Murray suddenly looked like a broken man, and so it proved as Djokovic – who had earlier been limping around in an exaggerated fashion – humiliated his opponent with a 6-0 whitewash in the fourth set.

Murray’s defeat left the Scot still seeking an elusive third grand slam title following his successes at the US Open in 2012 and against Djokovic at Wimbledon in 2013.

World number one Djokovic’s historic victory followed yet another singles title for Serena Williams, who beat Russian star Maria Sharapova 6-3 7-6 in a pulsating women’s final on Saturday night. It was 33-year-old Williams’ 19th grand slam singles title – edging her past Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert in the all-time charts.