A historic 22nd Grand Slam title for Novak Djokovic, but his path there was paved by a series of perfect 10s.
With his 10th consecutive tour-level win against Stefanos Tsitsipas, Djokovic sealed his record-extending 10th Australian Open title in his 10th championship match appearance at the hard-court major. After missing last year’s event and arriving in Melbourne this year carrying a left-hamstring issue, the Serbian was visibly emotional after equalling Rafael Nadal’s tally of major crowns.
“This is one of the most challenging tournaments that I have ever played in my life,” said Djokovic after his straight-sets final victory. “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 the legendary Rod Laver.
“It is a long journey. All my team and family know what we have been through in the past four or five weeks and this is probably the biggest victory of my life.”
Djokovic’s dominant title run also propelled the 35-year-old back to No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time since last June. Success in Melbourne and holding World No. 1 status may be familiar to Djokovic, but he continues to cherish them as much as ever.
“I nurture and celebrate these moments of becoming No. 1 again and Grand Slam champion even more than I have maybe ever in my career,” he said. “I don’t take it for granted.”
ATP Tour weekly contributed to this column