(CNN) — The result was familiar, the ease with which it was achieved was perhaps somewhat of a surprise. The historical implications of this match certainly did not chain Novak Djokovicsince the Serbian defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets to win a tenth Australian Open title and a record 22 Grand Slams.
After securing the 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5) victory, Djokovic went to the players’ box and wept uncontrollably, overwhelmed by the significance and emotion of his achievement. Even when he returned to his seat on the court, Djokovic hid his face in a towel, TV cameras caught the sound of his continuous crying.
Last year, Djokovic was unable to defend his title after being deported from the country due to his covid-19 vaccination status. This year, at Melbourne Park, he suffered a hamstring injury and had to deal with the consequences of his father, Srdjan, being recorded with a group of Russian fans at the Australian Open.
During the presentation ceremony, Djokovic described this victory as “the biggest victory of my life.”
“This has been one of the most challenging tournaments I’ve played in my life, considering the circumstances,” he said.
“I didn’t play last year, I came back this year. I want to thank all the people who made me feel welcome, made me feel comfortable. Only the team and family know what we’ve been through these last four or five weeks and this is the biggest win of my life considering those circumstances.”
The stats are astounding, the quality and consistency of his tennis even more so. Djokovic last lost at the Australian Open in 2018, a winning streak that spans 28 matches. In this tournament, he only lost one set.
Both Djokovic and Rafael Nadal now share the men’s “major” record, while Djokovic becomes only the second man to win more than 10 titles at a single Grand Slam tournament. The other is, yes, Nadal, who has won the French Open 14 times.
Without a doubt, the two men are historical figures not only in their sport but in any sport. Which one is the biggest? That battle and debate continues, and tennis is favored.
The victory over Tsitsipas in Melbourne, which took just under three hours, also returned Djokovic to the top of the men’s world rankings, a place he will hold for a record-extending 374th week.
Tsitsipas, playing in his second Grand Slam final, the first of which, at the French Open, also ended in a loss to Djokovic, can take heart that he is not the first player to be outplayed by the 35-year-old Serb in a final.
The Greek’s serve was under pressure from the start. He fell 15-40 in the second game but managed to tie the first set at 1-1, however once Djokovic broke in the fourth game it felt not only that the set would come to a foregone conclusion, but so did the match. .
Tsitsipas put up more resistance in the second set, unforced errors dropped, serve became more powerful and he won a set point, but it was Djokovic who prevailed in the ensuing 15-shot rally. And then the opportunity was gone. Forehand errors would ruin Tsitsipas’ chances in the tiebreaker that decided the set.
An immediate break of serve from Tsitsipas in the third set suggested the match was ready to turn, but Djokovic rallied immediately. Once again a tieberak was needed, with Djokovic supreme this time, winning 5-0 before claiming three championship points.
When Tsitsipas hit a long return, it clinched the title for Djokovic. The Serb looked towards his team and his family members – his father Srdjan did not seem to be present – and pointed to his head and heart. Then came the tears.
Ultimately, Tsitsipas’ 42 unforced errors proved costly, as he was only able to secure one of three break points, opportunities he had to seize if he really wanted to test the Serb.
For now, the man who aims to be one of the players to succeed the two greats of men’s tennis remains in the shadows.
Source: CNN Espanol