Novak Djokovic

Emotional Djokovic hails biggest victory of his life


A ruthless Djokovic resumed his reign over Melbourne Park by winning a record-extending 10th Australian Open title and crushing the Grand Slam dream of Greek trailblazer Tsitsipas in a one-sided final.

Reuters reports in a rematch of the 2021 French Open decider, Djokovic swept to a 6-3 7-6(4) 7-6(5) victory at Rod Laver Arena to reclaim the world number one ranking and again deny Tsitsipas a maiden major title.

The atmosphere was electric and the crowd often unruly as Serbian and Greek fans bayed in the terraces as if roaring on football teams.

Djokovic rolls on at Roland Garros

With Djokovic unable to defend his Australian Open title due to his refusal to be vaccinated against COVID-19, Spaniard Rafa Nadal broke a three-way tie for the most Grand Slam titles with the Serb and Roger Federer by winning the Melbourne Park major at the start of the year.

Yet a successful rerun of his 2021 Roland Garros campaign, when he beat 13-time French Open winner Nadal in the semi-finals, will lift Djokovic alongside his great rival.

Djokovic still struggling mentally in battle to return to form

The 20-times Grand Slam champion was unable to defend his Australian Open title in January after being deported from the country, having initially been admitted to the tournament despite not taking the vaccine.

The 34-year-old also sat out ATP Masters 1000 events in Miami and Indian Wells.

"The challenge is definitely more on the mental and emotional side," Djokovic said as he prepares to begin his Madrid Open campaign on Wednesday (NZ time).

Novak Djokovic pulls out of Indian Wells and Miami Open over US coronavirus rules

Regulations require any non-US citizen to have a Covid vaccination before entering the country.

Serb Djokovic, 34, told the BBC last month that he had not been vaccinated.

The 20-time Grand Slam winner was included in the draw for both events, but has since posted on Twitter that he knew it was "unlikely" he could travel.

He is likely to make his return to the tour at the Monte Carlo Masters in April.

The Indian Wells draw will be less balanced following the late withdrawal of Djokovic, who was seeded second.

Novak Djokovic to lose number one ranking after defeat to Jiri Vesely in Dubai

The tournament was Djokovic's first of 2022 after he was not allowed to compete in the Australian Open because he is unvaccinated against Covid-19.

The Serb will now be replaced by Daniil Medvedev at the top of the men's rankings on Monday.

"I never thought I would really have a chance against Novak, said Vesely.

The Czech Republic player, ranked 123 in the world, was broken when serving for the match, before winning the second set tie-break to complete an inspired victory.

Djokovic into Dubai quarter-finals

Just as against Lorenzo Musetti in his opening match, Djokovic received plenty of vocal support from a large crowd at the Aviation Club and responded with some dazzling tennis under the lights.

The 20-times Grand Slam champion was forced to pull out all the stops in the second set to fend off a fired-up Khachanov, forging ahead in the tiebreak and claiming victory on his first match point with a superb return.

Novak Djokovic returns with win over Lorenzo Musetti

The world number one became the focus of a global story when he was deported from Australia on 16 January because of his Covid-19 vaccination status.

But on his return to action he saw off Italy's Lorenzo Musetti 6-3 6-3.

"A pleasant experience," he said.

After thanking the crowd following his first match of 2022, Djokovic added: "I couldn't ask for a better reception. It's been a while since I played the last match.

"I couldn't pick a better place to kick start the season - it was the best possible experience tonight.

Novak Djokovic willing to miss tournaments over vaccine

Speaking exclusively to the BBC, he said missing competitions, such as the French Open, over his jab status was "the price that I'm willing to pay".

The 20-time Grand Slam winner was deported from Australia last month after the government cancelled his visa in a row over his vaccine status.

Djokovic described the conditions while he was detained as "very hard".

He said he had not spoken out in the media at the time - despite wanting to - as he wanted to respect the legal process and the Australian Open.

Novak Djokovic vows to tell his 'version' of events in Australia at a later date

An 11-day saga over Djokovic's entry visa ended with the Serb being deported for failing to meet Australia’s strict Covid-19 vaccination requirements.

The top-ranked tennis star met with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Thursday and described the events in Australia as “unexpected, to say the least”.

“I wanted to meet with you today because, primarily as a citizen of Serbia, I felt a great need to thank you for great support that you, as the president of Serbia, gave me, as well as all state institutions during the unfortunate events in Australia,” Djokovic said.

Novak Djokovic set for return to action in Dubai after missing Australian Open

The 34-year-old was deported from Australia on the eve of the Australian Open after losing a court bid to overturn his visa cancellation.

The 20-time Grand Slam winner is on the entry list for the Dubai ATP Tour event, which begins on 21 February.

Entrants to Dubai, where the Serb is a five-time winner, do not need to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Tennis Australia said it "deeply regrets" the impact Djokovic's deportation saga had on players at the Australian Open, as the focus on the 2021 champion's fate overshadowed the build-up to this year's tournament.