Dubai: Four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy can't beat Novak Djokovic at his own game, but he can share Olympic gold medal victory honours with the Serbian ace later this year in Rio de Janiero.
Novak Djokovic with the trophy after winning the Australian Open final on Sunday in Melbourne. Inset: Rory McIlroy. Pics/AFP
This would be McIlroy's Brazil dream when golf returns to the Summer Olympics in August. McIlroy was firstly in awe watching TV coverage last week of Djokovic's clinical four sets Australian Open semi-final defeat of Roger Federer and he gleaned further inspiration from the Serbian's three-set demolition of Andy Murray to win an 11th Grand Slam title.
It was the 28-year old Djokovic's sixth Australian Open title and his fifth in the past six years as he closes in on Federer's all-time best of 17 Grand Slam titles.
McIlroy still has some catching-up to do having won four Majors, but he is looking forward to completing his own golfing career Grand Slam in April's Masters at Augusta National. McIlroy said he had been introduced to Djokovic when dating former fiancee Caroline Wozniacki.
"I know Novak well and living in Monaco, as he does, I got to know him when I found myself also spending a bit of time there," said McIlroy. "But then his performance in the Australian Open was unreal, unreal. For the first two sets in the semi against Federer, I've never seen tennis like it and it was just incredible. Novak is just on another level at the moment and from where he was when he won his first Slam in 2008 to where he is now, is just amazing.
So I find watching the tennis he played in Australia very inspirational given the dedication he's shown to his game along with his work ethic. And it would be nice in going to Rio for the Olympic Games to hopefully come away what he more than likely should earn, and that's a gold medal," added McIlroy, who spent yesterday on the Emirates Club practice range and putting green but without taking to the course ahead of tomorrow's defence of his Dubai Desert Classic title.