A year after his deportation for refusing CoV vaccination, Novak Djokovic wants to be celebrated again as the winner of the Australian Open on Sunday. Should the 35-year-old Serb prevail against challenger Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final on Sunday (9:30 a.m. CET), it would be his tenth Grand Slam title in Melbourne and he would draw with all-time leader Rafael Nadal with 22 major titles. But the atmosphere between the two finalists is not the best.
The Serb would like to make people forget the negative headlines of the previous year with a stay in the deportation hotel and a legal dispute, even if he did not reach the final in 2023 without additional stress. A thigh injury, which didn’t bother him too much, problems with spectators who weren’t friendly towards him, and a thoughtless appearance by his father in front of a Russian flag made it difficult for him at times.
But with the smooth semi-final victory over the American Tommy Paul, he has extended his winning streak in Melbourne to 27. That’s a record in the professional era in Melbourne. Djokovic also won all of his nine finals at the Aussie Open. What else speaks for the “Djoker”: In the 13th duel with the 24-year-old Tsitsipas, he is also statistically the favorite. Djokovic leads head-to-head 10-2 and has won the past nine games.
Tsitsipas and Djokovic play for Australian Open titles
The men’s big showdown will take place on Sunday. While Stefanos Tsitsipas is hoping for his first Grand Slam success, Novak Djokovic is already aiming for his tenth title in Melbourne. The fact that it is the duel for number one in the world is also explosive.
No memory of Finale
With a win, Djokovic would also return to first place in the ATP ranking. “Of course I have goals and ambitions. That’s the Grand Slams and being number one in the world,” Djokovic said, adding, “I want to make more history in this sport, for sure.”
His opponent in the final was “one of the most interesting guys on the tour, with his interests off the pitch and with his hairstyle and everything,” Djokovic said of Tsitsipas. A few days ago, Djokovic, in the best mind game manner, pretended not to be able to remember the major final against the Greek at the French Open 2021. He had still won this after a 0: 2 set deficit against Tsitsipas.
The finale will be loud
Tsitsipas countered immediately after reaching the final in Melbourne: “I can’t remember either.” The atmosphere between the two seems heated, and it will also be loud in the Rod Laver Arena because of the numerous and loud Greek and Serbian fans. Djokovic only gave up one set until the final, but Tsitsipas also played extremely stable and indicated that he was the only one who could pose a threat to the dominator.
For the “big game” on Sunday, he “couldn’t be more ready,” said the fourth in the world rankings. What should not be forgotten, by the way: Tsitsipas could also climb the tennis throne with his first major title on Monday. “It’s a Grand Slam final, I’m fighting for number one. It is a childhood dream to one day take this place. I’m close,” said Tsitsipas.