Novak Djokovic had never lost an Australian Open final in his first nine opportunities. That didn’t change on his tenth try. Djokovic dispatched Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets to cruise to his 22th major championship, matching Rafael Nadal for the most in tennis history.

This all comes after Djokovic was unable to participate last year due to his Covid-19 vaccination status and amidst his battle with a hamstring injury that plagued him all tournament. Add to that the controversy surrounding his father during said tournament after being identified alongside Putin supporters. The gravity of it all was not lost on the Serb.

“This has been one of the more challenging tournaments I’ve ever played in my life, considering the circumstances,” Novak Djokovic said after the match.

“Not playing last year, coming back this year. I want to thank all the people who made me feel welcome, made me feel comfortable. Only the team and family knows what we’ve been through these last four to five weeks and this is the biggest victory of my life considering those circumstances.”

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Djokovic dedicated the win to the fans. He was emotional in sending the message that the win was not only for, but also driven by them.

“I don’t know if you’ll ever forgive me all these years, what I’ve done to you guys. I have to repeat it over and over again, this trophy is yours as much as mine. Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” he said.