FFor his coach, he is tennis’ Real Madrid personified, and as with the Spanish football club, Novak Djokovic’s hunger for the title is insatiable. “Winning as many slams as possible is the greatest motivation to keep playing,” said the Serb after his 22nd major triumph at the Australian Open on Sunday: “I have no intention of stopping here. I feel great with my tennis, physically good and mentally strong. I have the chance to win against every opponent at every Grand Slam.”
That should have been a challenge to Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz, who have high hopes for the title at the French Open in four months on sand. Djokovic had beaten both Spaniards in Melbourne without having competed against them: the 35-year-old replaced Alcaraz, who was absent due to injury, as number one in the world, and he drew level with Nadal, who was injured in the second round, after Grand Slam triumphs.
“Only title count, only record count”
While Alcaraz congratulated Stefanos Tsitsipas on the “very well deserved” success immediately after Djokovic’s final victory over the Greek, Nadal initially did not comment on social media. The Swiss Roger Federer, who resigned last year, expressed his admiration for the “incredible effort”. When it comes to the hotly debated question among fans about the best tennis player in history, more and more speaks for Djokovic. He doesn’t like to compare himself to others, but being part of this discussion “flatters me”.
For his coach Goran Ivanišević there is no doubt that Djokovic has overtaken all other stars. 97 percent of the players would have “withdrawn” from a thigh injury like the one his protégé took to the Australian Open, said the former tennis pro: “But not him, he’s from a different species.” Coaching Djokovic is “like Real Training Madrid,” the Croatian compared, “There’s always pressure. Only titles count, only records count”.
Djokovic made his peace with Australia, which had expelled him from the country last year because of an invalidated exemption. But his refusal to vaccinate could now cost him the start at the ATP tournaments in March in Indian Wells and Miami. In the USA, full corona vaccination is still an entry requirement. For Indian Wells tournament director Tommy Haas it would be “a shame” if Djokovic was unable to start because of this. The former German professional hopes for an exemption.
The international media bow to Djokovic. An overview:
„As“: “There was no better rematch than winning the Australian Open again, his fetish tournament, before the applause of the same citizens who disapproved of his behavior a year ago.”
“Brand”: “Everything changed for Novak Djokovic within 378 days. After being expelled in Melbourne a year ago, he has now lifted the Norman Brookes Trophy for the tenth time in his career, confirming him as Australian Open champion for the tenth time.”
“The country”: Djokovic redeems himself in his paradise and equals Nadal’s 22 Grand Slam wins. The Serb rounds off an impeccable tournament against Tsitsipas to claim his tenth title in Melbourne, which also makes him number one on the circuit again.”
„Daily Mail“: “From the deported to the dominant. An emotional Novak Djokovic equals Rafael Nadal’s record 22 Grand Slam wins by winning his tenth Australian Open crown.”
„The Sun“: “The guy who was rudely kicked out of Melbourne by customs officials without ever touching a ball will this time leave the country a celebrated hero, not an outlaw.”
„The Guardian“: “A crying Novak Djokovic celebrates the ‘biggest win’ of his life at the Australian Open.”
“Gazzetta dello Sport”: “Djokovic, tears and rebirth. So things have come full circle in Melbourne.”
Sports Courier: “Novak Djokovic is writing tennis history again. The Serb dominates in the final against Stefanos Tsitsipas and wins the Australian Open again.”
„The Team“: “Here’s Novak Djokovic again on the roof of the world. With a total of 22 trophies, he joins Rafael Nadal at the top of the Grand Slam.”
“Crown Newspaper”: “Novak Djokovic is crowned King of Australia.”
„Blick“: “A year ago, Novak Djokovic was disgraced and banned from the Australian Open. Now the Serb crowned his return with his tenth title in Melbourne. A great satisfaction for the “Djoker”.