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Djokovic and Tsitsipas: battling for title and for world No 1

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Novak Djokovic will try to win the Australian Open on Sunday. The winner will be rewarded with another great prize, the world No 1 spot

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Novak Djokovic, 2021 Stefanos Tsitsipas and Novak Djokovic, 2021 | © JB Autissier / Panoramic

September 11, 2022, the date of the US Open final between Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud: a doubly high-stakes match because, in a rare occurrence, the two players were also competing for the world No 1 spot.

Four months later, the same scenario is happening again: the winner of the match between Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Australian Open will be first in the ATP rankings. The loser will be third in the world next Monday, with Carlos Alcaraz standing between the two men, having sat at the top of the rankings for 21 weeks.

For the Greek, winning a Grand Slam tournament and ascending to the throne of world tennis would be a first. This would reward an exemplary consistency as he has not been out of the top 10 since March 2019, and would make a reality the childhood dreams of the 24-year-old, who needs to succeed in one of the greatest challenges in the history of tennis – beat Novak Djokovic in Australia.

The Serbian is on a 40-match winning streak in Australia and will be looking for his tenth Australian Open title on Sunday. He has never lost a final in Melbourne.

Djokovic, the most dominant No 1 in history?

If Djokovic wins the Australian Open, he would equal Rafael Nadal’s record of 22 Grand Slam victories in the four major tournaments.

The 35-year-old could also become the world’s No 1 player again after having already spent 373 career weeks in this position; no man has ever done better.

This is a real achievement for the Belgrade native, who had fallen back to eighth place in the ATP rankings in 2022 because he had not been allowed to play two Grand Slams and five Masters 1000 tournaments. In addition, his Wimbledon title did not earn him any points. To be No 1 with so few big tournaments played is proof of exceptional consistency when he is actually on the court.

Indeed, Djokovic has won 45 of his last 47 matches. His only two losses came in the French capital, to Nadal at the French Open and Holger Rune at the Rolex Paris Masters.

Djokovic and Tsitsipas have, of course, already met in a Grand Slam final in 2021 at Roland-Garros and it was the more experienced of the two who won after being down two sets to love.

They have met 12 times in their careers, with Djokovic leading 10-2 and winning the last nine meetings.

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