MELBOURNE-A ruthless Novak Djokovic resumed his reign over Melbourne Park by winning a record-extending 10th Australian Open title on Sunday and crushing the Grand Slam dream of Greek trailblazer Stefanos Tsitsipas in a one-sided final.
In a rematch of the 2021 French Open decider, Djokovic swept to a 6-3 7-6(4) 7-6(5) victory at Rod Laver Arena to reclaim the world No 1 ranking and again deny Tsitsipas a maiden major title. The atmosphere was electric and the crowd often unruly as Serbian and Greek fans bayed in the terraces as if roaring on football teams. But at the finish chants of “Nole! Nole” won out as Djokovic stormed to a 5-0 lead in the final tiebreak and closed out the match with a thumping forehand down the line that Tsitsipas could only hit long. The 35-year-old Serb tapped his temple then his heart as he walked forward to shake hands with Tsitsipas before jumping into his players box. Unleashing a roar, Djokovic pumped his fists then cried as he hugged his mum.
Caretaker CM Mohsin Naqvi establishes committee for cardiac emergency services
Djokovic’s 22nd Grand Slam triumph, now matching Rafa Nadal, was the ultimate redemption a year on from his sensational deportation from Australia on the eve of the Grand Slam due to his lack of COVID-19 vaccination. That dark episode seemed like ancient history on Sunday as he soaked up the cheers from his army of Serbian supporters.
Despite saying repeatedly, he bore no grudges over his deportation, Djokovic left none in doubt that the events of last year would be fuel for his success. He has had plenty of other spurs at this tournament, with heckling fans, snide commentary about the severity of his hamstring injury and calls for his father Srdjan to be barred from Melbourne Park for mixing with Putin supporters bearing banned Russian flags. “I have to say this has been the most challenging tournament I have played in my life,” Djokovic said as he cradled the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup. “Not playing last year, coming back this year. “This is probably the biggest victory in my life considering the circumstances.”
Elahi holds Nawaz Sharif responsible for recent hike in POL prices
As in the semi-final, there was no Srdjan in the players’ box but Djokovic had ample support all around the showcourt. Where his left thigh had strapping in the semi-final and before, there was only a bit of tape poking out of his shorts-leg. It was a bad omen for Tsitsipas, who at Roland Garros in 2021 gave up a two-set lead to lose to the Serb.
He had his chances on Sunday, including a set point in the second set, but he was unable to convert them. “Novak brings the best out of me and these are the matches I’ve been working my entire life for,” Tsitsipas said in a gracious runner-sup speech. “He’s the greatest that has held a tennis racket.”
With his entourage having changed into T-shirts emblazoned with “10”, Djokovic held the winner’s trophy aloft once more, 15 years after hoisting it for the first time as a 20-year-old in 2008.