Tennis ‘King of Melbourne Park’ Djokovic lands 10th Australian Open title

0 14

By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Ruthless Novak Djokovic resumed his reign at Melbourne Park by winning a record 10th Australian Open title on Sunday and shattering the Greek pioneer’s Grand Slam dream Stefanos Tsitsipas in the wrong final.

In a repeat of the 2021 French Open decider, Djokovic won 6-3 7-6(4) 7-6(5) at Rod Laver Arena to bring back the world to refuse.

The atmosphere was electric and the crowd often wild as Serbian and Greek fans in the stands booed like they were cheering on football teams.

But in the end, the chant of “Nole! Nole,” as Djokovic went 5-0 up in the final tiebreak, ending the match with a forehand down the line that Tsitsipas could only hit for so long.

The 35-year-old Serb tapped his temple and then turned around as he stepped forward to shake Tsitsipas’ hand before jumping into his players’ box.

Djokovic screamed, pumped his fist and cried as he hugged his mother.

Djokovic’s 22nd Grand Slam triumph, now level with Rafa Nadal, was the ultimate redemption a year after his sensational deportation from Australia on the eve of the Grand Slam for not having a COVID-19 vaccination.

That dark episode seemed ancient history on Sunday as he absorbed the joy of his army of Serbian supporters.

Although Djokovic repeatedly said that he does not give up on his deportation, he left no doubt that the events of the last year would increase his success.

He has received many other spurs in this tournament, with heckling from fans, disparaging comments about the severity of his hamstring injury and calls for his father Srdjan to be banned from Melbourne Park for meeting Melbourne fans. Putin with banned Russian flags.

“I have to say this was the most challenging tournament I’ve played in my life,” Djokovic said while weighing in at the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup.

“He didn’t play last year, he came back this year.

“It’s probably the biggest win of my life given the circumstances.”

As in the semi-final, there was no Srdjan in the players’ box but Djokovic had enough support around the showcourt.

Where his left thigh was taped in the semi-final and before, only a bit of duct tape protruded from his short leg.


It boded ill for Tsitsipas, who surrendered a two-set lead at Roland Garros in 2021 to lose to the Serb.

He had his chances on Sunday, including a set point in the second set, but he couldn’t convert them.

“Novak brings out the best in me and these are the games I’ve worked for my whole life,” Tsitsipas said in a gracious second-place speech.

“He’s the greatest man to ever hold a tennis racket.”

Tsitsipas faced a man in his 33rd Grand Slam final and was tense in his second.

He missed a double fault to drop a serve in the fourth game and in the blink of an eye Djokovic was 4-1 up and threw it into the net.

A wide serve ended the set for the Serb, who happily went to his seat.

Tsitsipas focused on his serve and found relief.

He had a small victory as he disturbed Djokovic on the court to catch a backhand at 3-3.

Djokovic grew frustrated with Tsitsipas’ resilience on serve and began berating his stunned coach Goran Ivanisevic.

He gave up a 5-4 set point with a backhand error to the delight of the Greek fans, but saved it with a forehand winner down the line.

The crowd grew unruly as the set went into a chaotic tiebreak, with a fan giving up a song during a rally at 4-4.

Tsitsipas cracked, hitting twice long and Djokovic sealed the set like the first with a wide serve and a kick.

When the match slipped out of his hands, Tsitsipas needed a bit of luck.

This came instantly as Djokovic dropped serve with a chaotic opening game in set number three.

Tsitsipas’ moment had arrived but was quickly over when he missed a forehand with an open beggar.

The Greek nodded and Djokovic caught and broke back with a brilliant shot.

From there, the Serb finished the match in trademark control before hitting a forehand on the line to score three match points in the final tiebreak.

Shake one with a backhand and Tsitsipas saved the second with a huge serve but Djokovic made no mistake on the third.

After his entourage wore ’10’ shirts, Djokovic again held the trophy aloft, 15 years after he first lifted it in 2008 as a 20-year-old.

(Edited by Ed Osmond)


Leave A Reply