Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Djokovic won his 10th Australian Open title

MELBOURNE ( Associated Press) – Novak Djokovic climbed into the stands at Rod Laver Arena to celebrate his 10th Australian Open championship and a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title, jumped up and shook hands with his teammates, and turned back Went and cried.

Returning to the court, Djokovic sat down on his side bench and covered his face with a towel and held back tears.

This trip to Australia has been more successful than last year – when he was deported for not getting vaccinated against COVID-19 – but dangerous in different ways: a muscle ailment in his left leg and something caused by his father Court riot. Against all odds, Djokovic managed to make his wish list come true: He resumed his winning streak at Melbourne Park and stood at the top of tennis once again.

“This has probably been the most important victory of my life.”

Barely demanded in the final, the 35-year-old Serb was very impressive in the crucial moments as he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 7-6(4), 7-6(5). As a bonus, Djokovic will move from fifth to first in the ATP rankings, the position he has accumulated the most weeks in men’s tennis.

“I want to say it has been one of the most demanding tournaments I have played in my life. Wasn’t able to play last year, coming back this year,” Djokovic said, sporting a white shirt with the number 22 on his chest. “And I want to thank all the people who welcomed me, who made me feel welcome to be in Melbourne, to be in Australia,” he said, wearing a jacket.

Djokovic returned to Australia this year after a legal saga over his deportation. Government restrictions have since been eased and this time he was able to obtain a visa despite not having been vaccinated against the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Djokovic extended his winning streak in hard court tournaments to 28 matches.

His 10th trophy in Australia extended the record already held in Melbourne. His 22nd major championship – which includes seven at Wimbledon, three at the US Open and two at Roland Garros – equals Rafael Nadal for most men’s Tour titles in tennis history.

He was better than Tsitsipas throughout the match, but especially in the two tiebreakers.

Djokovic led 4-1 in the opening round and took the last three points after seeing 4 draws. He led the final tiebreaker 5–0 and when it was over he pointed to his temple, climbed into the stands and threw punches before collapsing in tears, accompanied by his coach Goran Ivasinevic and other members of his team. Jumped.

Djokovic returned to the court, sat on his side bench, covered his face with a white towel, and let more tears flow.

Margaret Court, with 24 titles, Serena Williams with 23 and Steffi Graf with 22 are the most successful women in tennis.

Sunday’s win was also Djokovic’s 93rd ATP Tour title and allowed him to break a tie with Nadal for fourth place. Jimmy Connors leads the list with 109 titles.

Tsitsipas told Djokovic, “I want to thank you for taking our game even further.”

“He is the greatest man to ever pick up a tennis racket,” added the 24-year-old from Greece.

Djokovic played in his 33rd major final, while Tsitsipas played in his second major final. The last time Tsitsipas also lost to Djokovic was at Roland Garros in 2021.

A few things to keep in mind: It wasn’t that Tsitsipas played too badly, except for a few mistakes in the first half that were more due to the tension of the final. Djokovic was simply irresistible. Very accurate with his shots, with just 22 unforced errors, 20 fewer than his opponent. More nimble and flexible when running (except when, on a move to his left, Djokovic fell).

Tsitsipas said, “I did my best.”

With the title, Tsitsipas would have reached number one for the first time and replaced Carlos Alcaraz, who rose to the top after winning the US Open last September but missed the Australian Open due to a foot injury. .

Although it was not much consolation for Tsitsipas, there was no shame in not beating Djokovic in Melbourne. Challenging his mastery of those blue hard courts is as big a task as facing Nadal on the red clay of Roland Garros.

“It’s been very emotional for us. Very emotional for him,” Djokovic’s coach Goran Ivanisevic said. “It’s a tremendous achievement. Those three weeks were very tough for him. He managed to do it all.”

Djokovic admitted that all the setbacks created more pressure for him.

“It took a lot of mental and emotional energy for me not to lose my concentration,” Djokovic said.

And it is that during the past weeks he has faced more than enough rights and vicissitudes.

There was the memory of the previous year’s legal saga, what he recognized was a certain form of inspiration but had been left behind, and his curiosity as to how the Australians would receive them.

He got a lot of support, but when he fouled on Sunday, there was no shortage of applause as well as his play.

He also dealt with a sore foot, which was heavily bandaged for each game. Only one piece of the bandage was appreciated in Sunday’s final.

And then there was the incident involving his father Srijan being caught on video with a group waving Russian flags – one bearing an image of Russian President Vladimir Putin – after their quarter-final match. The Russian and Belarusian flags were banned by the organizers. Djokovic and his father explained that Srijan believes he belongs with fellow Serbs.

In any case, Srjan Djokovic did not attend his son’s semifinal and he did not attend the final either.

“We agreed that the best thing was that he was not (in the box),” said Djokovic, who hugged his father after the final.

Djokovic exalted himself in spite of everything as he often does.

“It’s been a long journey, but a very special one,” he added.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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