Novak Djokovic has claimed a record-equalling 22nd grand slam singles crown with a near-perfect 10-out-of-10 Australian Open final triumph over Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Djokovic preserved his aura of invincibility on Rod Laver Arena to see off Tsitsipas 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-5) in a briefly competitive but ultimately anticlimactic championship decider on Sunday night.
The straight-sets but not always stress-free victory drew Djokovic level with Rafael Nadal on the men’s all-time grand slam titles leaderboard and secured the tennis super-Novak a record-extending 10th trophy at Melbourne Park.
The 35-year-old joins 14-times French Open champion Nadal as only the second man to win the same slam on at least 10 occasions.
Unbeaten – still – in finals on RLA and without a defeat in 41 matches in Australia since 2018, Djokovic did not need his father’s courtside support to take another giant stride towards sporting immortality.
Srdjan Djokovic was conspicuously absent from the champion’s box, despite being given the green light to attend the final after being swept up in something of an international incident by posing with pro-Russian fans at the tournament last week.
He will be sure to join the after party, though, after his son completed a triumphant and tumultuous return to his happiest grand slam hunting ground following last year’s dramatic deportation from Australia on the eve of his 2021 Open defence.
The great Rod Laver was fittingly front and centre with the best view in the house named in his honour for the Serb’s latest history-making act.
In addition to the spoils, records and the $2.975 million winner’s cheque, Djokovic will also return to world No.1 on Monday, for a seventh stint atop the rankings, after once again denying Tsitsipas an elusive maiden major and the chance to scale the summit himself for the first time.
Djokovic also beat Tsitsipas in the 2021 French Open decider.
This time, though, the Serb was not forced to recover from two sets down after dominating the third seed for much of the match.
After seizing the opening set with the lone break in the fourth game, and looking utterly untroubled on his own serve, Djokovic was briefly rattled late in the second stanza.
Storming the net with success, after being thoroughly bossed from the baseline, Tsitsipas fashioned a set point in the 10th game only for Djokovic to save it with a forehand winner.
Opportunity lost, Tsitsipas fell two sets behind after Djokovic sealed the tiebreaker and assumed total command when the Greek flayed a forehand wide.
And when Tsitsipas relinquished an early break in the third set, then surrendered another tiebreaker, it was game, set and match Djokovic after two hours and 55 minutes.