The result was familiar, the ease with which it was achieved somewhat of a surprise. The historic implications of this match certainly did not shackle Novak Djokovic as the Serb beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets to win a 10th Australian Open title and a record-equaling 22nd grand slam.
After securing the 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-5) victory, Djokovic went to the players’ box and uncontrollably sobbed, the significance and emotion of his achievement overcoming him. Even as he returned to his seat on the court, Djokovic hid his face in a towel, the television cameras picking up the sound of his continued crying.
The statistics are astonishing, the quality and consistency of his tennis even more so. Both Djokovic and Rafael Nadal now share the men’s record for major wins, while Djokovic becomes only the second man to win more than 10 titles at a single slam. The other being, yes, Nadal, who has won the French Open 14 times.
Undoubtedly the two men are all-time greats of not only their sport but any sport. Which one is the greatest? That battle and debate is ongoing, and tennis is the benefactor.
Victory over Tsitsipas in Melbourne, which took just under three hours, also returned Djokovic to the top of the men’s world rankings, a spot he will occupy for a record-extending 374th week.
More to follow.