Novak Djokovic Clinches His Tenth Australian Open Men’s Title


Sophie Lee, Staff Writer

It seems that for the 2023 Australian Open held in Melbourne, world-renowned tennis player Novak Djokovic came with a mission: to earn his tenth Australian Open title. And that’s just what he did. 

In the 2022 Australian Open, Djokovic had been deported from Australia over his refusal to receive the Covid-19 vaccination, but he could not have come back any stronger. From being taken out of the tournament last year to winning the championship this year against the talented Stefanos Tsitsipas, 6-3, 7-6, 7-6, Djokovic drew even with his rival Rafael Nadal in the Grand Slam Men’s singles titles, both icons now with twenty-two wins under their belts. 

After a last forehand from Tsitsipas that went long, the match ended despite two nerve-wracking tiebreakers. Djokovic immediately turned to his family and coaches, pointing to his head, heart, and below his waist—it took everything he had to win in the tough final match two Sundays before. “It takes a big heart [and] mental strength,” he said once the night match had continued on into the early morning. Calling this victory the biggest one of his life, Djokovic wore a jacket with the vivid No. 22 under his right collarbone. What makes this feat more worthy is how much tennis he missed this past year due to his refusal to get vaccinated for Covid-19. Djokovic still cannot compete in the United States unless there is a policy change, meaning the U.S. Open might not host the current number one star. 

It seems Djokovic had not met a challenge in this past tournament until his final game against Tsitsipas. Before the finals on Sunday, January 29, the all-star only lost a single set in seven matches and stole easy victories in his fourth-round, quarterfinal, and semifinal games. With such a strong mentality, Djokovic’s game often demonstrates gaining the upper hand before his opponent. First serves, first breaks, and first-set wins are how he consistently clinches victories in tournaments like the Australian Open. He seldom allows opponents to retain a break, catch a breath, slamming shot after shot with unsurpassable precision. Slowly suffocating, his opponents feel as though in an instant, Djokovic has already dominated the game. 

Specifically, Tommy Paul, an American tennis player who lost to Djokovic in the semifinals, felt as though much of their first set had gone by in a blur. Having played the sport his entire life, Paul understands the game inside and out; however, in this match, he never felt the time between hitting, chasing after, and retrieving the ball pass so quickly. However, Djokovic’s struggle with injuries during the tournament was hidden behind his winning results. Before the tournament, he suffered a blow to his hamstring, forcing him to wear a thick wrapping around his thigh until the finals. Djokovic’s coach Goran Ivanisevic mentions how 97% of players would have pulled out of the tournament in a state of injury like his, but instead he worked through his pain—healing with a mix of rest, painkillers, and physical therapists—and put his heart and soul on the line. 

On the other hand, Tsitsipas had felt overwhelmed in the finals and was not able to play with the ease he had played with in the previous two weeks. Although Djokovic barely broke a sweat, claiming the first set, Tsitsipas loosened and began to rip his forehand and backhand shots. The match transformed into a neck-and-neck competition until Djokovic took it all in the last tiebreaker point. While Tsitsipas almost turned the tide of the game, Djokovic ultimately clinched his tenth Australian Open title, breaking the record as Tsitsipas called him “the greatest that has ever held a tennis racket”.