Emotions flow for victorious Djokovic: “It’s the biggest victory in my life”

The Serb let the tears flow after his 10th Australian Open win, 12 months on from his deportation from the country

Novak Djokovic tears Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his final match against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Am emotional Novak Djokovic said his Australian Open title win on Sunday was the “biggest of my life” because of everything he has been through in the past 12 months.

A year ago, Djokovic was thrown out of Australia over his decision not to be vaccinated against Covid-19; on Sunday, he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets to win his 10th Australian Open title and match Rafael Nadal with his 22nd Grand Slam win, a men’s record.

The tears flowed for several minutes after his 6-3, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) victory, the emotions spilling over after all the events of the past few weeks, battling a hamstring injury and a row involving his father, Srjdan, who missed the final after what he said was a misunderstanding when he posed for a photo with pro-Russia fans.

“What a journey it’s been,” Djokovic said on court. “I have 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. Only my team and my family knows what we have been through in the past five weeks. This is probably the biggest victory in my life, considering the circumstances.”


“Events of the last few days were not easy to handle”

A while later, in his press conference after the usual champion’s round of TV interviews, Djokovic explained what he’d been going through.

“Of course, considering last year’s event, I was a bit more nervous coming into Australia, didn’t know how I was going to be received by the people. But overall it was a very positive experience,” he said.

“Again, I wouldn’t be able to do what I did in Adelaide (winning the pre-event title) and here if I wasn’t feeling good on and off the court. Of course, there were things that were happening, also events of last few days with my father, that were not easy for me to handle, especially at these last stages of a Grand Slam. But I had to keep it together.

“It took an enormous amount of mental and emotional energy to really keep it tight, keep my focus. People around me who have been with me have done a great job in making me do my routines in a proper way so that I could try to perform the best way as possible.”

“It’s some of the best tennis I’ve played in slams”

Djokovic said he had learned more about himself over the past few weeks.

“I always try to take away some important professional tennis lessons but also life lessons about my character, about my experience, about everything that I went through on and off the court,” he said. “So I need some time. I need some space to reflect on that. It’s hard to talk about it right now because it’s so fresh.

“In terms of the quality of the tennis, it’s honestly some of the best tennis I’ve played on this court. As good as I’ve played maybe 2011 or ’15 or ’16 or those years where I really had some very strong, strong seasons and strong Australian Opens. I would rank it right up there. Maybe top two, three of all time of performances on slams in general, particularly here.”

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