On Sunday, a merciless Novak Djokovic won his record-extending 10th Australian Open title and dashed the hopes of Greek breakout star Stefanos Tsitsipas by defeating him in a one-sided final.
At Rod Laver Arena, Djokovic defeated Tsitsipas in straight sets (6-3, 7-6(4), 7-6(5)) to restore the world no. 1 position and prevent Tsitsipas from winning his first Grand Slam tournament.
Serbian and Greek supporters bayed in the terraces as if roaring on their own football teams, creating an exciting atmosphere and an often chaotic crowd.
However, the “Nole! Nole” cries won out in the end as Djokovic raced out to a 5-0 lead in the last tiebreak and finished off Tsitsipas with a thunderous forehand down the line that the Greek could only hit long.
As he came up to shake hands with Tsitsipas, the 35-year-old Serb tapped his temple and then his heart. He immediately jumped inside his player’s box, where he embraced his mother and sobbed.
Djokovic’s victory was the ultimate atonement after he was sensationally deported from Australia on the eve of the Grand Slam a year prior for failing to have the COVID-19 vaccination.
On Sunday, after he had defeated his older opponent and heard the roar of his legion of Serbian followers, the dark episode had faded into distant memory.