Novak Djokovic celebrated his 10th Australian Open men’s singles title and record-tying 22nd Grand Slam on Sunday in Melbourne.
The fourth-seeded Djokovic pumped his fists, let out a primal scream and hugged friends and family following his 6-3, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) win over third-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece.
The 35-year-old from Serbia then returned to the court and found his sideline bench, buried his face in a towel and wept tears of joy.
“This is one of the most challenging tournaments that I have ever played in my life,” said Djokovic, who was unable to compete in Melbourne in 2022 because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Not playing last year, coming back this year. I want to thank all the people who made me feel welcome. There is a reason why I have played my best tennis on this court, in front of legendary Rod Laver.
“It is a long journey. All my team and family knows what we have been through in the past four or five weeks and this is probably the biggest victory of my life.”
The victory, his 28th straight in Melbourne, will vault Djokovic from No. 5 to No. 1 in the ATP rankings.
Tsitsipas would have held the top spot that with a victory on Sunday. Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz, who previously was the top-ranked player, sat out the Australian Open with a leg injury.
Djokovic’s 22 Grand Slam titles are tied with Spaniard Rafael Nadal for the most by a man. Only two women — Margaret Court (24) and Serena Williams (23) — have more.
Djokovic won 82% of points behind his first delivery against Tsitsipas, who was competing in his second Grand Slam final. The 24-year-old squandered a two-set lead and fell to Djokovic in the 2021 French Open.
“Novak, I don’t know what to say. I think it speaks for itself with what you have achieved so far,” Tsitsipas said during the trophy ceremony. “It is all in the numbers, so congratulations. Not only to yourself but having such a supportive family. It has been such an unbelievable journey for you and I admire what you have done for our sport.
“[You] make me a better player when I am on court. Novak brings the best out of me, and these are the matches I have been working my entire life for. He is one of the greatest in our sport.”
Djokovic claimed a 4-1 lead in the first set and finished out the set without much issue. Tsitsipas upped his game before dropping tiebreakers in the second and third sets.
Djokovic ended the match with a forehand down the line to end the match in 2 hours, 56 minutes.
“I really don’t want to stop here … Of course, 35 is not 25,” Djokovic said. “But I still feel there is time ahead of me.”
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