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Australian Open: Novak Djokovic defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final

Melbourne, Australia – Novak Djokovic has found this trip to Australia to be less complicated and far more successful than the one a year ago.

Unable to take part in the first stage of a Grand Slam in 2022, after being kicked out of the country for not being vaccinated against COVID-19, Djokovic achieved everything he wished for upon his return. He returned to success at Melbourne Park and returned to the top of tennis.

Djokovic had only a brief challenge in Sunday night’s final, simply bettering in the decisive moments and overcoming Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 7-6(4), 7-6(5) to claim his 10th international title against Australia.

In doing so he extends a record, and for his 22nd Grand Slam title in total, he equals the mark of Rafael Nadal.

As a bonus, Djokovic will move from fifth to number one in the ATP rankings, a place he has already held for more weeks than any other tennis player.

“I want to say it was one of the most difficult tournaments of my life given the circumstances,” Djokovic said. I want to thank everyone who welcomed me and made me feel so comfortable being in Melbourne, being in Australia. »

And then he made a really important statement, given everything that the 35-year-old Serb has achieved on the tennis court: “I would say that this is probably the biggest victory in my life.”

Djokovic extended his unbeaten streak in Melbourne to 28 matches, the longest there since 1968. He added his tenth Australian Cup to seven from Wimbledon, three from Flushing Meadows and two from Roland Garros, to equal his men’s rival Nadal in the Grand Slam.

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Only two women are ahead of him — Margaret Court, 24, and Serena Williams, 23.

It was also Djokovic’s 93rd ATP title, breaking a tie with Nadal for fourth.

“I want to thank you for playing tennis to this extent,” Tsitsipas told Djokovic.

Djokovic was in his 33rd final, and Tsitsipas in his second. Djokovic also defeated the 24-year-old Greek in Paris in 2021.

Djokovic led 4-1 in the first tiebreaker and then grabbed the final three points. Lead 5-0 into the second stalemate. After securing the win, he entered the stands, raised his fist, and celebrated with his coach, Goran Ivanisevic, and other members of his entourage.

Then he broke down crying.

Back on the field, he sat down on his bench, buried his face in a towel, and cried again.

That certainly won’t comfort Tsitsipas, but there’s no shame in being beaten by Djokovic in Melbourne. Challenging his dominance on these solid blue courts is the same monumental task as taking on Nadal on the red clay of Roland Garros.

Djokovic committed only 22 unforced errors, 20 fewer than his opponent.

He pushes and pushes and pushes more, until his opponent lands a less-than-perfect blow—providing an opportunity for the Serb.

That’s what happened when Tsitsipas had his first break point (which was also a set point), when he was leading 5-4 in the second set and Djokovic was serving at 30-40. Will Djokovic stumble? No.

A 15-shot exchange concluded with Djokovic hitting a slam-dunk cross-country forehand.

This was followed by two steps from Tsitsipas: a long backhand, a wide forehand. It felt like surrender.

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Even when Tsitsipas broke in the third set, Djokovic cheated him right after.

Djokovic’s left hamstring was badly taped in every match in Melbourne except for the final, where only one piece of tan tape was visible.

Djokovic excelled as he often does, winning 17 straight sets after dropping one in the second round last week.

“He is the tallest person who has ever held a tennis racket,” said Tsitsipas.