MELBOURNE, Australia – Novak Djokovic was at his best at crucial moments and defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 7-6(4), 7-6(5) to claim his 10th Australian Open title and 22nd Grand Slam title. The final at Rod Laver Arena on Sunday night.

The victory allows Djokovic to return to No. 1 in the ATP rankings.

The 35-year-old Serbian did not participate in the Australian Open a year ago after being expelled from the country for not being vaccinated against Covid-19.

Since then, government restrictions have been eased and he was able to get a visa this time even though he did not receive any vaccine against the disease caused by the corona virus.

Djokovic now has a 28-game winning streak on hard courts.

His 10th title in Australia will add to his previous record. His 22 major championships — seven from Wimbledon, three from the US Open and two from the French Open — are tied for the most in tennis history by a single person, Rafael Nadal.

It was generally dominant over TCS, but particularly so in the two compensatory groups.

Djokovic led 4-1 in the first and served out the last three points after breaking 4-all. He led the closing game 5-0 and when it was over, he pointed to his temple, climbed into the stands, punched, jumped and cried with coach Goran Ivanisevic and other team members.

Djokovic returned to the court, sat on the side bench, buried his face in a white towel and shed more tears.

Margaret Court, 24, Serena Williams, 23, and Steffi Graf, 22, have the most championships among women.

It was Djokovic’s 93rd ATP tour-level title and tied for the fourth time with Nadal. Jimmy Connors holds that mark at 109.

Djokovic was competing in his 33rd major final, Tsitsipas was runner-up – and the 24-year-old Greek also lost to Djokovic in the 2021 French Open.

Tsitsipas’ victory allowed him to enter No. 1 for the first time, replacing Carlos Alcaraz, who sat out the Australian Open due to a leg injury after winning the US Open last September.

This is no doubt for Tsitsipas, but there is no shame in not being able to beat Djokovic in Melbourne. Challenging his dominance on those blue hard courts is every bit as monumental as taking on Nadal on the red clay at Roland Garros.

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