Winner of the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, the Serbian won his tenth title on Melbourne, the 22nd of his Grand Slam career on Sunday, recovering the place of the world number one.
By Elisabeth Pineau
Novak Djokovic points a raging index on his temple before lifting it in heaven, in a prayer, his usual ritual after each victory. Then, when joining his clan in the stands of the Rod Laver Arena, he collapses, literally and figuratively, caught up in an uncontrollable emotion that we had never seen before, not even after his first title in Large slam in this same decor fifteen years ago. Back on his chair, the sobs continue, the head buried under his towel.
The scene says a lot about the tension that consumed the Serbian for fifteen days in Melbourne before winning his 10 e title to the Australian Open, Sunday, January 29, at the end of ‘A one-way final against Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas (6-3, 7-6, 7-6).
“It was one of the most difficult tournaments of my career. Do not play last year, come back this year … Only my team knows what we have gone through in recent weeks. Being the biggest victory of my career, “spilled the 5
A year ago, the “master of the place”, not vaccinated against the COVVI-19, had been deprived of his favorite tournament. The images of the hero of Serbia arrested by the border police, placed in detention for several days, then finally stained like a pariah out of the country after having seen his fate sealed by the Australian Federal Court, had fueled a planetary soap. Twelve months later, Djokovic did not change his mind on vaccination, but he was authorized to enter the country.
Consequently, the fallen king had a double mission in mind: to recover his crown in Melbourne and return to his Spanish rival Rafael Nadal in the race for the record of victories in Grand CHELEM (22). “Of course, it is for this record that I continue to play, I want to be the best in the world and win the biggest tournaments, it is not a secret for anyone. It is also one of the reasons why I wanted to return to Melbourne, “he justified when he arrived at Melbourne Park.
The redemption operation is total for the almost 36 -year -old player. As a bonus, he recovers his throne from the world number one to which Tsitsipas could claim in the event of a victory.
The two men found themselves in the final of a Grand Chelem almost two years after that of Roland-Garros 2021, won by the Serbian (6-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6- 4). Led two sets to zero, the Belgradois had returned transformed after a long toilet break between the second and the third set that had been talked about. “When he returned to the court, he was almost a new player,” Tsitsipas commented after the meeting, before being inspired by this routine the rest of the season.
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