With his victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas on Sunday, Novak Djokovic surpassed Rafael Nadal’s 22 Grand Slam titles, won his 10th Australian Open, and regained the top spot in the world rankings.
On his return to Melbourne Park this year, the Serbian star overcame a hamstring injury and off-court drama to defeat the Greek third seed 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), and 7-6 (7/5) on Rod Laver Arena.
After his son’s quarterfinal triumph, father Srdjan stirred much controversy by standing with a supporter holding a Russian banner bearing Vladimir Putin’s face. He went on to win the match without his father present.
After the victory, Djokovic climbed to his player’s box to embrace his mother and sobbed uncontrollably, falling to the ground.
The 35-year-old fourth seed made a stunning comeback after missing the tournament the previous year due to his deportation due to his opposition to the Covid vaccine.
Djokovic won the Adelaide International before reaffirming his status as an all-time great in Melbourne after a three-year suspension imposed by Australia was removed.
With the decisive victory, he tied Nadal for the most Grand Slam titles with 22, two more than Roger Federer.
The legendary Spanish player unexpectedly withdrew from the French Open in the second round due to a hip ailment, but he plans to return for the clay-court season and another shot at a 23rd Slam championship at the tournament.
When the rankings are revealed on Monday, Nadal is expected to drop in the standings, in contrast to Djokovic, who will unseat Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz and reclaim the top spot for the first time since June. Tsitsipas will move up to position three.