Novak Djokovic climbed into the stands to celebrate his 10th Australian Open championship and record-tying 22nd men's Grand Slam title Sunday and, after jumping and pumping his fists with his team, he collapsed onto his back, crying. When he returned to the playing surface, Djokovic sat on his sideline bench, buried his face in a white towel, and sobbed some more, per the AP. This trip to Australia was far more successful than that of a year ago, when he was deported from the country because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19. And Djokovic accomplished all he could have possibly wanted in his return: He resumed his winning ways at Melbourne Park and made it back to the top of tennis, declaring: “This probably is the, I would say, biggest victory of my life.”
Only briefly challenged in the final, Djokovic was simply better at the most crucial moments and beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5). As a bonus, Djokovic will vault from No. 5 to No. 1 in the ATP rankings, a spot he already has held for more weeks than any other man. “I want to say this has been one of the most challenging tournaments I’ve ever played in my life, considering the circumstances. Not playing last year; coming back this year,” Djokovic said, wearing a zip-up white jacket with a “22” on his chest.
The 35-year-old from Serbia stretched his unbeaten streak in Melbourne to 28 matches, the longest run there in the Open era, which dates to 1968. He adds trophy No. 10 to the seven from Wimbledon, three from the US Open—where he also was absent last year because of no coronavirus shots—and two from the French Open, to match rival Rafael Nadal for the most by a man. Only two women—Margaret Court, with 24, and Serena Williams, with 23—are ahead of him.
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