Stefanos Tsitsipas was defeated soundly by Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final, enabling the Serb to a record-extending 10th Australian Open title. After the match, the Greek star lauded Djokovic and said, “He is the greatest to have ever held a tennis racket,” to rapturous ovation from the crowd.
“I have had the privilege to play a lot of high intensity matches, but I would like to say one more time that Novak brings the best out of me and these are the matches I have been working my entire life for. I would like to thank you for pushing our sport so far and it deserves a player like you who pushes every single player who is involved in this sport,” Tsitsipas added.
In a rematch of the 2021 French Open decider, 24-year-old Tsitsipas was unable to convert the few chances he had as he failed to stop Djokovic winning his 22nd Grand Slam title, losing 6-3 7-6(4) 7-6(5).
“He is the greatest that has ever held a tennis racquet.”@steftsitsipas • @DjokerNole • #AusOpen • #AO2023 pic.twitter.com/VDvVI9r8RP
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 29, 2023
The atmosphere was electric and the crowd often unruly as Serbian and Greek fans bayed in the terraces as if roaring on football teams.
But at the finish chants of “Nole! Nole” won out as Djokovic tore into a 5-0 lead in the final tiebreak and closed out the match with a thumping forehand down the line that Tsitsipas could only hit long.
The 35-year-old Serb tapped his temple then his heart as he walked forward to shake hands with Tsitsipas before jumping into his players box where he embraced his mum and cried.
Djokovic’s triumph was the ultimate redemption a year on from his sensational deportation from Australia on the eve of the Grand Slam due to his lack of COVID-19 vaccination.