Novak Djokovic has won his 10th Australian Open championship and record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title overall by beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final at Rod Laver Arena.
The Serbian star dropped just one set all tournament, despite saying he feared a left hamstring problem might force him to withdraw, and finished with a 6-3, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) victory over first-time Australian Open finalist Tsitsipas on Sunday.
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As a result of winning the first Grand Slam of the year, Djokovic also reclaimed the world number-one ranking from Carlos Alcaraz.
The 35-year-old did not compete in the Australian Open a year ago after being deported from the country because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19.
Government restrictions have eased since, and he was able to get a visa this time despite still not having gotten vaccinated against COVID.
“I have to say this has been the most challenging tournament I have played in my life … not playing last year, coming back this year,” Djokovic said after the match. “Only the team and the family knows what we have been through in the last four or five weeks.”
Now Djokovic has extended his winning streak at the hard-court tournament to 28 matches.
His 10th trophy in Australia adds to the record he already held. His 22 major championships – which include seven from Wimbledon, three from the US Open and two from the French Open – are tied with Rafael Nadal for the most by a man in the history of tennis.
With sizeable Greek and Serbian communities in Melbourne, and Rod Laver in attendance, there was a raucous atmosphere.
Djokovic came into the match with his confidence high having won all nine of his previous Australian Open finals and with a 10-2 career advantage over the Greek.
He was superior throughout against Tsitsipas, but especially so in the two tiebreakers.
Djokovic took a 4-1 lead in the first and after it was 4-all, pulled off the last three points. He led 5-0 in the closing tiebreaker and, when it finished, he pointed to his temple then climbed into the stands, pumped his fist and jumped with his coach, Goran Ivanisevic, and other members of the entourage, before collapsing, crying.
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Djokovic returned to the court, sat on his sideline bench, buried his face in a white towel and let some more tears flow.
Margaret Court, with 24, Serena Williams, with 23, and Steffi Graf, with 22, have the most championships among women.
This was also the 93rd ATP tour-level title for Djokovic, allowing him to break a tie with Nadal for the fourth most. Jimmy Connors holds that mark, at 109.
Djokovic was participating in his 33rd major final, Tsitsipas in his second – the 24-year-old’s other one also ended in a loss to Djokovic, at the 2021 French Open.