An emotional Novak Djokovic described his record-equalling twenty second grand slam title as the largest victory of his life.
A 12 months after seeing Rafael Nadal pull forward within the all-time males’s standings whereas he tried to course of the fall-out from his deportation from Australia, Djokovic has been decided to indicate that Rod Laver Arena is his stage.
He dropped only one set all event – regardless of saying he feared a left hamstring downside may pressure him to withdraw – and completed with a 6-3 7-6 (4) 7-6 (5) victory over first-time Australian Open finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas to say a tenth title in Melbourne.
- Novak Djokovic – 22
- Rafael Nadal – 22
- Roger Federer – 20
- Pete Sampras – 14
- Roy Emerson – 12
Djokovic additionally reclaims the world primary rating from Carlos Alcaraz and it could be very troublesome to argue that he doesn’t justify that place having as soon as once more put the youthful generations of their place.
His standing in Australia, in the meantime, is unmatched, with the 35-year-old profitable a 28thconsecutive Australian Open match and a forty first in a row within the nation as an entire.
After sealing victory, Djokovic climbed into the stands to rejoice together with his staff and household and was overcome with emotion, mendacity on the bottom and sobbing uncontrollably.
Speaking on courtroom in a jacket bearing the quantity 22, Djokovic stated: “This has been one of the most challenging tournaments I’ve ever played in my life.
“Not playing last year, coming back this year. I want to thank all the people that made me feel welcome, made me feel comfortable to be in Melbourne, to be in Australia.
“There’s a reason I’ve played my best tennis on this court. Only my team and my family know what we’ve been through in the last four, five weeks. This probably is the biggest victory in my life considering the circumstances.”
There are massive Greek and Serbian communities in Melbourne and the ambiance was paying homage to a soccer match, with followers decked of their nation’s colors and umpire Louise Azemar Engzell continually interesting for quiet throughout factors.
Both males obtained raucous welcomes, however the reception for Djokovic was just a bit bit louder and his followers quickly had a lot to cheer.
For the primary time all event, there was no heavy strapping on his left thigh, though a few strips of tape have been a reminder that Djokovic had cruised by to the ultimate whereas not 100 per cent match.
If the Serbian has been susceptible in slam finals over the previous couple of years, it has tended to be early on, with Djokovic dropping the primary set on four-consecutive events, together with towards Tsitsipas within the Greek’s solely earlier ultimate on the French Open in 2021.
There Djokovic went two units down however nonetheless got here again to win. He was in no temper for a repeat right here, although, wanting supremely sharp from the beginning, forcing Tsitsipas to save lots of two break factors in his opening service sport after which breaking to guide 3-1.
The 24-year-old barely landed a glove on his opponent throughout Djokovic’s service video games, with the primary set whizzing by, however Tsitsipas, who has carried himself with an air of nice confidence all fortnight, received a foothold within the match early within the second set.
He was serving with extra authority and discovering higher depth and penetration on his groundstrokes, though he was nonetheless reluctant to enterprise to the web.
Djokovic now not seemed fairly so certain of himself, gesticulating ceaselessly to his field, which was once more with out father Srdjan, who opted to avoid Melbourne Park for one more match after being filmed with pro-Russia activists final week – inadvertently, the household insisted.
The Serbian took a heavy tumble within the seventh sport and at 4-5 he missed a routine backhand to provide Tsitsipas a set level.
The Greek was unable to grab his alternative, although, and shortly he was two units down after an error-strewn tie-break.
Chances will all the time be at a premium towards Djokovic and taking them is paramount however Tsitsipas was once more too charitable at the beginning of the third set, lastly breaking serve solely at hand the benefit straight again.
He was not less than capable of repel Djokovic’s stress to pressure a second tie-break solely to seek out himself 5-0 down. He battled again with a few of his greatest tennis of the match however a forehand that simply caught the road was sufficient for Djokovic to clinch his second match level.