Novak Djokovic has defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas to win a record-extending 10th Australian Open title and equal Rafael Nadal on 22 major trophies.
The 35-year-old’s 6-3 7-6 7-6 victory over the Greek third-seed on Rod Laver Arena means he and Nadal now stand as equals for the most Grand Slam men’s singles titles in history and also means Djokovic will return as the world No.1 for the first time since last June, having held the spot for a record 373 weeks in total.
Tsitsipas was bidding to win his maiden major title and both men headed into the Melbourne Park final in fantastic form – with neither of them having lost a match in 2023 going into the meeting – but Djokovic had the clear advantage in the head-to-head having won his last nine clashes against the 24-year-old.
Djokovic also possesses an incredible record at the Australian Open, having never lost in a semi-final or final at the tournament, and is now 20-0 in those two rounds in Melbourne. The 11-year age gap between the players was the largest in an Australian Open final in the Open Era but that was no problem for the Serbian.
Djokovic, who was said to be struggling with a hamstring problem earlier in the tournament, got off to the perfect start in Sunday’s Championship match, in what was a repeat of the 2021 French Open final, as he recorded an early break to go 3-1 up in the first set with a nervous-looking Tsitsipas registering a double fault.
The duo exchanged service games but Tsitsipas was unable to break Djokovic back and was simply unable to get enough out of his forehand as the Serbian comfortably won the first set 6-3, playing some of his best tennis, in front of a raucous crowd with the umpire repeatedly having to ask spectators to shush.
Tsitsipas, who was attempting to become the first Greek to win a Grand Slam title, improved in the early stages of the second set and was making less unforced errors – and after Djokovic took an awkward fall at 3-3 – the Serbian started taking out his frustration on his coaching team, strangely glaring down Goran Ivanisevic.
Djokovic was clearly angered by the advice was receiving and it was impacting his tennis – and after hitting out at the crowd – he handed Tsitsipas a crucial set-point opportunity at 5-4 but the Greek was unable to covert as it went to 5-5. Both players held their serves with Djokovic winning the set after a 7-4 tie-break.
Djokovic has only ever lost once in his career after going two sets up but was complacent in the first game of the third set and suffered his first break of the match as he overhit a backhand return which landed between the tramlines but Tsitsipas could not make it last as the 35-year-old broke him straight back.
Off-court stories about his father posing for pictures with supporters of Russian president Vladimir Putin affected Djokovic in the build-up to the final but he could not have looked more calm and composed in the third set after those early break exchanges and won a second tie-break 7-5 to win the final in straight-sets.
Djokovic was already the most successful Australian Open player in the men’s singles in history but his 10th title has undoubtedly further cemented his legacy at Melbourne Park and it is becoming harder and harder to deny crowing him as the greatest men’s tennis player of all time after equalling Nadal on 22 major titles.
Djokovic broke down in tears in an outpouring of emotion following his historic victory – one year on from events last year in which he was engulfed in a political row over coronavirus vaccinations as it saw him deported from Australia and barred from playing after spending time locked up in an immigration facility.
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