Novak Djokovic's historic win at the Australian Open
Last year's Australian Open was a disappointment for Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic.
The backstory: Last year's Australian Open was a disappointment for Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic. He couldn't defend his champion title because he was deported for not being vaccinated against COVID. But recently, the Aussie government lifted restrictions, including the requirement to show proof of vaccination status, and Novak finally got his visa.
More recently: The journey wasn't easy for him. He's had to deal with a hamstring injury (and people doubting him over it) and some drama surrounding his dad. His dad was caught in a bit of controversy when he was filmed posing with a man wearing a T-shirt of the pro-Russian "Z" symbol and holding a Russian flag with Putin's face on it. In response, Novak's dad decided to stay away from the semi-finals and watch from home instead.
The development: Novak Djokovic took Melbourne Park by storm with a historic win at the Australian Open. He defeated Greek player Stefanos Tsitsipas in three straight sets, securing his 10th championship title and tying the record for 22 Grand Slams. That's right – Djokovic is now tied with Rafael Nadal for all-time major wins in men's tennis.
During the trophy ceremony, a teary-eyed Djokovic referred to this victory as the biggest of his career. With this win, he's back on top of the world rankings and will hold the spot for an impressive 374th week. The tennis world is still trying to determine who the greatest player of all time is between Djokovic and Nadal, but what's clear is that both players have cemented their place in the history books as tennis legends.
"This has been one of the more challenging tournaments I've ever played in my life, considering the circumstances," said Novak Djokovic. "Not playing last year, coming back this year. I want to thank all the people who made me feel welcome, made me feel comfortable. Only the team and family knows what we've been through these last four to five weeks and this is the biggest victory of my life considering those circumstances."
"I am here to support my son only. I had no intention of causing such headlines or disruption," said Srdjan Djokovic after controversial images led to calls for him to be banned from the tournament.
"Novak, I don't know what to say. I think it speaks for itself with what you have achieved so far," said Stefanos Tsitsipas during the trophy ceremony. "It is all in the numbers, so congratulations. Not only to yourself but having such a supportive family. It has been such an unbelievable journey for you and I admire what you have done for our sport. [You] make me a better player when I am on court. Novak brings the best out of me and these are the matches I have been working my entire life for. He is one of the greatest in our sport."