Sunday, January 29, 2023
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 number one 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 tore into 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 player's box where he embraced his mum and cried.
Djokovic's triumph 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 after winning the clash of generations.